Military Review

Weapons of directed energy: progress and its results

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Laser complex "Relight". Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation


Thanks to science fiction and theorists, a mass of classes of the so-called weapons directed energy. Systems of this kind can be used to destroy various targets on the earth, in the air and in outer space. However, far from all types of such weapons, theoretically possible, can be created in practice - not to mention the introduction of troops. Consider the successes of science and industry in the field of directed energy systems.

Weapon theory


According to the classical definition, systems of directing energy (ONE) or Directed-energy weapon (DEW) include systems that hit the target through the direct transfer of energy of one kind or another - without the use of conductors, kinetic damaging elements, etc.

ONE is divided into several main classes - electromagnetic, beam, acoustic, etc. Also, some varieties of kinetic systems based on accelerators can be attributed to it. At the level of science fiction and conspiracy theories, the so-called “exists”. psychotronic weapon - it is intended for remote influence on the nervous system and psyche of manpower.


A-60 experimental aircraft with a laser on board. Photo Airwar.ru

It should be noted that certain studies were conducted in almost all of these areas. Only certain classes of systems have reached testing or operation, but they are also of great interest.

Laser success


The most successful at the moment can be considered the direction of electromagnetic ONE in all its manifestations. Developed, tested and operated different generators of electromagnetic radiation that can affect the target in different ways. First of all, such successes are due to the active work in the field of combat lasers - generators of electromagnetic radiation of optical or other ranges.

By now, the leading countries have managed to develop and test a lot of combat lasers for various purposes. Such systems were carried out in the form of hand-held "guns", full-size ground armored vehicles, aviation complexes, spacecraft, etc. They can be used to engage a wide range of targets, from the human eye and optical devices to ballistic missiles and warheads.

Some laser systems have already entered service. Thus, the Peresvet optical suppression systems are being deployed in the Russian army, while in the United States they are preparing to adopt a SHORAD system of near-laser defense. It is known that in China, combat lasers have become a regular piece of equipment for some tanks, they are used as a means of suppressing optics.


Self-propelled air defense system Stryker-A1 M-SHORAD. Photo Leonardo DRS

Apparently, the development of laser weapons will continue with new noteworthy results. Great hopes are pinned on new air defense and missile defense systems, including air based. The French company DCNS intends to create a combat ship with laser "artillery" by the middle of the decade. Will it be possible to fulfill all these plans, and how soon this will happen is a big question.

Electromagnetic achievements


A direct analog of a laser using radiation from other ranges is the so-called microwave guns. Not so long ago, Raytheon launched the PHASER mobile complex for testing small airborne targets. A directed beam of microwave radiation should damage the electronics of the object and disable it.

The study of other options for ONE based on directional electromagnetic radiation is ongoing. There are some successes, but it is still quite far from being adopted.


Microwave gun Raytheon PHASER. Photo Raytheon / raytheon.com

With certain reservations, the class of electromagnetic ONE can be classified as electronic warfare systems. Using the radio signals of the desired configuration, they suppress the operation of communications and surveillance. Some samples of electronic warfare systems use a beam aimed at the target. In principle, electronic warfare can be considered the most successful area in the field of electromagnetic weapons. There are many models of this kind that are in operation and have repeatedly demonstrated their capabilities.

A promising direction is considered to be electromagnetic bombs - ammunition that affects electronics and communications using a short-term powerful pulse. According to well-known data, in our country and abroad they worked on this topic and even got some positive results. However, information on the adoption of electromagnetic ammunition for service is not yet available.

Beam perspective


In theory, the so-called beam systems. They use a directed flow of charged or neutral particles as a damaging factor. Such ONE can be used to combat manpower, equipment, etc. It could find application in the ground forces, in aviation and in space.

Weapons of directed energy: progress and its results

Possible appearance of a Casaba Howitzer product. Figure Toughsf.blogspot.com

In the seventies, the United States simultaneously led the development of several beam complexes of various kinds. The army wanted a new air defense system; The Air Force oversaw the development of a space-based missile defense system for the Strategic Defense Initiative program. Several experimental stationary particle accelerators have been developed and built. In 1989, a technology demonstration satellite was launched into orbit, with the help of which the features of the deployment of beam weapons in space.

However, soon the work on the topic stopped. The reduction of military-political risks, the excessive complexity of the concept and other factors led to this. Other countries, as far as is known, studied the topic of beam weapons, but did not bring it to the test.

Directed atom


A curious version of ONE, which has several heterogeneous damaging factors at once, can be considered a nuclear weapon of directed action. This idea provides for the creation of a special atomic warhead that transfers most of the explosion energy in a given direction. The advantages of such weapons over the “normal” nuclear charge are obvious.


Excalibur Nuclear Laser. Figure Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The most famous development of this kind, despite the secrecy, is the American project Casaba Howitzer, the work on which began back in the fifties. The aim of the project was to create a directed nuclear charge capable of hitting a target with directed electromagnetic radiation and plasma flow. It is known about the development of some engineering solutions, but the project did not even reach the test. However, materials on an unsuccessful project are still not subject to publication. Perhaps these developments will find application in the future.

Later, Kasaba developments were proposed to be used in the Excalibur project. He proposed the construction of an orbital nuclear-pumped X-ray laser. Such a product would be disposable, but could develop extremely high characteristics sufficient to hit a variety of targets. However, this time the project remained on paper.

Sound like a weapon


Some targets can be hit or disabled using directional sound waves of high power. Weapons of this kind have been developed for decades, and some samples have already entered service. Existing sonic ONEs are non-lethal means and, if used properly, should not cause permanent damage to the target.

Since 2004, various structures of the United States and other countries have been using the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) sound system, designed for installation on any platform, from cars to ships. It produces a loud high-frequency sound in a narrow sector, forcing a person to retire. LRAD has been used repeatedly in different countries to suppress riots, to combat maritime piracy, etc.


Acoustic station LRAD on an army car. In this case, it is used as a loudspeaker. Photo US Army

A few years ago, the Russian Interior Ministry ordered Whisper acoustic devices. This system is made wearable; it uses infrasonic vibrations with high acoustic pressure and negatively affects the target - although it does not cause permanent damage to it. Information on the use of such funds is not yet available.

Progress and its results


As you can see, progress in the arms industry does not stop. Promising systems that were previously present only in works of art are being developed and brought into operation. Laser, electromagnetic, acoustic, and other versions of ONE / DEW come into service, which previously seemed to be a matter of the distant future. Other systems are still fantastic and cannot even reach laboratory tests.

The current successes in the field of ONE are directly related to numerous studies of various kinds and the emergence of a host of new technologies in all major areas. The improvement of existing technologies and the appearance of new ones expected in the future will have an obvious effect. The existing armaments of directed energy will have to be improved, and over time, the appearance of fundamentally new systems should be expected - in the first place, already known at the level of theory.
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  1. The comment was deleted.
  2. svp67
    svp67 24 March 2020 18: 17 New
    0
    But the combat vehicle of the "Compression" project was handed over to the museum ...
    1. Zaits
      Zaits 25 March 2020 15: 59 New
      0
      Quote: svp67
      But the combat vehicle of the "Compression" project was handed over to the museum ...


      Because it's expensive and stupid. Designed to disable optics. The relative cost of counteraction is just a penny.
  3. Amateur
    Amateur 24 March 2020 18: 21 New
    0

    More or less like this. And it ends like this: "We greased, sir!"
  4. Operator
    Operator 24 March 2020 18: 29 New
    +2
    A beam weapon firing nuclei of light atoms and electrons is an electromagnetic accelerator of nuclear particles with an efficiency of 0,0 ... 1% and weighs accordingly.

    A nuclear charge of directed energy (the so-called X-ray "laser") had a directionality plus or minus a bast shoe and could not even burn through an unprotected ICBM hull.
    1. abrakadabre
      abrakadabre 24 March 2020 21: 43 New
      0
      A beam weapon firing nuclei of light atoms and electrons is an electromagnetic accelerator of nuclear particles with an efficiency of 0,0 ... 1% and weighs accordingly.
      In this case, the flow of charged particles has a hellishly large atmospheric resistance
      1. Operator
        Operator 24 March 2020 22: 41 New
        0
        Quite right - therefore, beam (as well as x-ray) weapons are designed for heights of 100 km or more above the Earth's surface.
        1. Vadim237
          Vadim237 25 March 2020 18: 11 New
          0
          Work on these weapons in the United States continues as a space-based missile defense system - the irradiation of warheads and their selection for radars. The latest development has a mass of 400 kilograms.
          1. Operator
            Operator 25 March 2020 19: 12 New
            +1
            I understand how to irradiate BBs and false targets (in order to select them) with a beam of light particles or x-rays, but here's how to register reflected particles or x-rays - sorry, no (particles and x-rays work in light).
            1. Vadim237
              Vadim237 26 March 2020 00: 50 New
              -1
              Satellites with special gamma and X-ray recorders are available.
              1. Operator
                Operator 26 March 2020 02: 25 New
                +1
                I’m talking about something else - for detection in the light it is necessary to place the emitter, object and radiation receiver on one line. Now try to do this for three bodies moving in three-dimensional space in different orbits and at different speeds.
                1. Vadim237
                  Vadim237 29 March 2020 14: 04 New
                  0
                  And this is not necessary, mini-missiles with controllable kinetic damaging elements will stand on the same satellite as all the red and x-ray channels - it tracks, calculates and hits. Now and in the future, the United States will launch and will launch many secret military satellites - no one knows what they are for and what equipment they have on board.
                  1. Operator
                    Operator 29 March 2020 14: 41 New
                    0
                    X-rays (like accelerated atomic particles) are not reflected from the target, but shines through it.
          2. abrakadabre
            abrakadabre 28 March 2020 16: 43 New
            0
            Work on these weapons in the United States continues as a space-based missile defense system - the irradiation of warheads and their selection for radars. The latest development has a mass of 400 kilograms.
            Now let's estimate the following:
            1. Beam divergence, given that the accelerated particles most likely have the same electric charge. Yes, even if in general the "shot" has zero charge, it consists of positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons (in short, they accelerate the plasma). At the moment of leaving the accelerator, the beam is very narrow. This means that the Coulomb forces are great. Some of the ions interact with electrons to a neutral atom. The rest and larger cloud of particles is repulsed by Coulomb forces, and the beam has a divergence much greater than that of a laser. Which means. according to this parameter, the accelerator must be delivered to the target at a very small distance by orbital standards. Otherwise, the scattering of the beam and scanty damage to the target.

            2. Particle mass and amount of energy delivered to the target. What mass do stationary earth accelerators accelerate in our country? From the point of view of military use - none. There is an immeasurable minuscule. Even the largest - LHC, at a maximum drives less than a nanogram of particles inside itself (indicated rest mass). I repeat: less than 10 in minus 9 degrees of a gram. Yes, the total energy of this nanogram is huge. But the large hadron collider itself is very far from satellites being thrown into orbit. And in size, and in mass, and in energy consumption: almost 27 km of the main ring and a few smaller preliminary acceleration. Cyclopean structure, I don’t even know how much mass, consuming just a breakthrough of energy. At the same time, high beam characteristics (count the shot) are achieved by phased acceleration in several stages, on different rings. During acceleration, particles go through many thousands of revolutions inside the accelerator. Convincing beam density is maintained throughout the acceleration by a huge number of focusing magnets. Otherwise, see point 1 — Coulomb repulsion of beam ions.

            What beam characteristics can an accelerator of 400 kg provide? Yes, even a couple of tens of tons. In fact, it will be an ion flashlight with a diverging ion beam. Which, at a distance of several kilometers from the target, will have a purely theoretical combat sense. It will even be difficult to apply it even as a shunting ion jet engine, due to the impossibility of long-term continuous operation.
      2. Vladimir_2U
        Vladimir_2U 25 March 2020 03: 20 New
        +1
        Quote: abrakadabre
        charged particle flow has hellish atmospheric resistance

        It was supposed to be remembered at first by a laser to pierce a channel in the air, only then to beat with a beam.
  5. knn54
    knn54 24 March 2020 18: 59 New
    +1
    It would be nice (for discussion) to publish an article about the "death rays" of the professor, "Russian Tesla" MM Filippov.
  6. Klingon
    Klingon 24 March 2020 19: 01 New
    0
    forgot to mention about a plasma weapon a plasma gun firing a high-temperature plasma clot moving in an ionized air channel
    1. Vadim237
      Vadim237 25 March 2020 18: 13 New
      +1
      So far, they have only shot lightning at the laser channel - a sort of alternative to electric shakers.
    2. psiho117
      psiho117 26 March 2020 18: 06 New
      0
      Quote: Klingon
      forgot to mention plasma weapons

      The successes of mankind in the long-term confinement of plasma are so miserable that they cannot start Tokamak with ITER even for a millisecond. Are you talking about plasma weapons ...
  7. abrakadabre
    abrakadabre 24 March 2020 21: 41 New
    +1
    About acoustic weapons, you can also add that systems were developed to hit the enemy with a shock wave of a special low-flying supersonic aircraft. There was once an article on this in VO.
  8. Mitroha
    Mitroha 24 March 2020 21: 41 New
    -1
    As I understand it, one of the main problems of the use and leap in the development of ONE is the lack of an inexpensive, powerful and capacious, but at the same time compact power source?
    In general, I don’t really like the idea of ​​the presence of acoustic and microwave weapons on the battlefield.
  9. Barmaleyka
    Barmaleyka 24 March 2020 23: 33 New
    0
    At the level of science fiction and conspiracy theories, the so-called “exists”. psychotronic weapon - it is intended for remote influence on the nervous system and psyche of manpower.
    and what does it have to do with science fiction or conspiracy theory, the influence of infrasound on the human psyche is known and fully used
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov 24 March 2020 23: 47 New
      0
      Quote: Barmaleyka
      and what does it have to do with science fiction or conspiracy theory, the influence of infrasound on the human psyche is known and fully used

      Well yes...
      Many who were exposed to the "sound cannons" during the dispersal of the demonstration in Georgia later reported attacks of agoraphobia, that is, fear of open space.
    2. abrakadabre
      abrakadabre 28 March 2020 16: 53 New
      0
      the influence of infrasound on the human psyche is known and fully used
      Let's look at the corresponding series of the program "Mythbusters", in which this statement is also checked: . In the military sense - zero. Yes, even in non-combat - the same zero.
      Yes moderators do not consider me to advertise a third-party resource.
  10. f44823olympus.ru
    f44823olympus.ru 25 March 2020 01: 12 New
    0
    "Directed energy weapons" - maybe the answer lies in "string theory" ?!
  11. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I 25 March 2020 01: 37 New
    +2
    Well, if you chase the hooligans, then for this, acre of "sound cannons" and microwave ... developed ... in my opinion, even tested ...
    1. psiho117
      psiho117 26 March 2020 18: 08 New
      0
      Quote: Nikolaevich I
      acre "sonic guns", and microwave ... developed ... in my opinion, even tested ...

      take an interest in the fate of the drivers of these microwave "pepelatsev" somehow ... and if the psyche is strong - google photos.
  12. sen
    sen 25 March 2020 05: 24 New
    +2
    There is also an electric laser. Two parallel lasers create two conductive channels (due to air ionization) through which an electric current is passed, which can affect manpower or destroy metal surfaces.
    https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Электролазер
  13. gridasov
    gridasov 25 March 2020 11: 45 New
    +2
    At the heart of absolutely all reasoning is the technology of moving a certain body or perturbed energy object. And it’s already positive that some people are paying attention to the growing resistance. Therefore, such technologies are based solely on the fact that the perturbed impulse of dense space can be transmitted not only by the movement of the body or object itself, but by the movement of the very impulse of the perturbation as an electronic magnetic flux. I also think that they will not soon begin to understand how the info code should not be moved, but rotated, passing its parametric value in a stable and unchanged fractal space.
    1. Falcon5555
      Falcon5555 25 March 2020 19: 45 New
      +2
      Gridasov, did your processor get Chinese flu?
      1. gridasov
        gridasov 25 March 2020 20: 42 New
        0
        probably your prayers still live!
        1. Falcon5555
          Falcon5555 26 March 2020 15: 50 New
          0
          No, not mine. Do you believe in god?
          1. gridasov
            gridasov 26 March 2020 16: 14 New
            0
            Faith in God as an image is one thing. Absolutely different Faith is presented if we consider Faith in the act or processes created by the Almighty. Reasonableness, rationality, the sequence of evolution of particular processes and general ones is obvious. Hence Faith becomes, as it were, improved from the way we learn the laws of the universe.
            1. Falcon5555
              Falcon5555 26 March 2020 17: 22 New
              0
              So believe in god or not?
  14. Falcon5555
    Falcon5555 25 March 2020 19: 35 New
    +1
    A beam weapon can be called a weapon of directed energy - if possible, then with a stretch. There is not "energy" in some "pure" form, but a beam of elementary particles or atomic nuclei. Laser light can also be viewed as a beam of photons. Probably only an acoustic "weapon", oddly enough, can be called that.
    1. gridasov
      gridasov 25 March 2020 20: 38 New
      0
      At the level of photons, quanta, if it were particles, then the light would not propagate at all, as well as penetrating radiation, etc.
      1. Falcon5555
        Falcon5555 26 March 2020 15: 53 New
        0
        Want to fix Einstein?
        1. gridasov
          gridasov 26 March 2020 16: 09 New
          0
          From what I know about Einstein and his reasoning, I can definitely say that he could not know and work with methods for analyzing complex and big data. Therefore, he did not consider energy as the aggregate of a multitude of such data, and also on the so-called transient processes. Hence we can say that at one time these were significant and useful ideas. But now it's far from needs
          1. Falcon5555
            Falcon5555 26 March 2020 17: 30 New
            0
            Are you a big data worker? Have you heard anything about the photoelectric effect?
  15. Klingon
    Klingon 27 March 2020 09: 37 New
    0
    Quote: psiho117
    Quote: Klingon
    forgot to mention plasma weapons

    The successes of mankind in the long-term confinement of plasma are so miserable that they cannot start Tokamak with ITER even for a millisecond. Are you talking about plasma weapons ...

    Well, why, they can start, and even within 10 seconds, tokamaks seem to work, but this is clearly not enough to generate energy. So far, tokamaks burn more energy than they give up and what they burn is not enough to start a self-sustaining fusion reaction. Those artificial suns are not destiny to create. And the walls are melting. Mr. Chubais hasn’t invented such heat-resistant ceramic-based nanomaterials yet. it's all because at the level of civilization's levels of energy use we are at level 0, since we still burn organics to get energy + we have inefficient dynamos and solar panels. Well, we still know how to get a bit of energy from fission of nuclei. And what we get is not able to store any efficiently and compactly. But now, as soon as we step over to level 1, we will learn how to launch and manage thermonuclear energy and store it compactly, here we will have Phasers and Disruptors, Photon torpedoes, Talaron Radiation and Red Matter wassat and for starters we need to at least run ITER drinks