Military Review

Limitations and prospects of "microwave guns"

38

An early version of the ADS system on a truck chassis


One of the options for the so-called. weapons on new physical principles or directed energy weapons is a system that strikes a target due to microwave electromagnetic radiation. In recent decades, a number of similar complexes have been proposed in different countries, but only a few samples have reached the armament. Objective factors of various kinds interfere with obtaining more interesting results.

Theoretical possibilities


Microwave or microwave radiation refers to waves with a length of 1 m to 1 mm (frequency from 300 MHz to 300 GHz). Microwaves of different frequencies and intensities are used to solve a wide range of problems in industry, communications, radar and even in everyday life. In the context of weapons systems, it is proposed to use the ability of microwave radiation to induce currents in conductors and warm up dielectrics.

The "microwave cannon" can be used to destroy enemy electronic systems. Radiation of sufficient power can damage or destroy circuits and components of an electronic device. With the help of radiation of lower power and the required frequencies, it is possible to suppress radio channels in the corresponding ranges.


More compact ADS option

Microwave radiation is also proposed to be used against manpower. Radio waves can heat water in the tissues of the human body and cause pain and / or burns. This effect can be used for long-term incapacitation of the enemy or as a short-term measure of non-lethal impact.

Weapons based on microwave waves can be performed in different form factors and used on different media. Projects were proposed for air, land and sea-based systems. At the same time, only land samples, stationary and mobile, have been brought to the series and until operation.

American results


At the beginning of the XNUMXs, the Pentagon announced the existence of a non-lethal ADS (Active Denial System) microwave cannon. This product was made in the form of a container or a set of devices suitable for mounting on a car chassis. A large antenna device is placed on the roof of the carrier for targeted destruction of targets.

The first version of ADS operated at 95 GHz and had a power of 100 kW. Waves 3,2 mm long penetrate 0,4 mm into human skin and cause heating of the epidermis without affecting deeper layers and tissues. Depending on the range and current power of the emitter, within 3-5 seconds the skin warms up to 40 ... 45 ° C. This causes pain and forces the enemy to seek cover. With the cessation of exposure to waves, a person's well-being is normalized. Burns and other injuries during short-term exposure are unlikely - the target person prefers to escape from the radiation before it excessively overheats the tissue.


ADS towed on board

On the basis of the full-size ADS complex, new samples were created. Thus, the Silent Guardian product is less powerful and is installed on the HMMWV chassis. It is also known about the development of small-sized stationary complexes for use at various facilities.

Field tests of the first version of the ADS were carried out in the 2010s. In XNUMX, it was reported about the deployment of such a complex at one of the bases of the American army in Afghanistan. Details were not disclosed, and soon it became known about the removal of ADS from duty. Despite this, it has been argued that ADS and similar systems are capable of providing effective and non-lethal protection of objects from attacks.

In Russian practice


The Russian army already has a microwave gun. This product is used as part of the target equipment of the 15M107 "Foliage" remote demining machine. This vehicle is equipped with a multi-zone search module for detecting explosive devices, and also carries a microwave generator with an emitter to destroy detected objects from a safe distance.

The "microwave cannon" on board the "Foliage" vehicle is designed to disable electrical and electronic components of explosive devices. The antenna device ensures the destruction of targets in a sector with a width of 90 ° at a distance of up to 50 m. Under the influence of an electromagnetic pulse, the elements of the mine "burn out", with or without charge detonation.


Machine 15M107 "Foliage" in the stowed position

The "Foliage" demining vehicle has been adopted by the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, is mass-produced and supplied to the troops. This technique is intended to escort mobile ground missile systems on alert. The crews of the "Foliage", using the standard equipment of the vehicle, must identify and neutralize dangerous objects on patrol routes.

The Strategic Missile Forces regularly conduct a variety of exercises, incl. using machines 15M107. Another message about the Foliage exercise appeared just a few days ago. The demining machine identified and non-contact defused 20 training explosive devices, incl. outside the standard range of 50 m.

Challenges and limitations


Directed energy weapons are attracting the attention of the military, scientists and engineers, but microwave guns have not yet been widely used. Only individual samples have been brought to operation, and a lot of other projects cannot even get out of the testing stage. Other ideas remain at the stage of proposals without real prospects. The fact is that experienced microwave guns have shown their capabilities and general potential for a long time - and with them disadvantages and limitations.


Microwave cannon on the roof of "Foliage"

The non-lethal ADS complex at one time was criticized in two directions at once: due to the alleged lack of efficiency and in connection with possible excessive performance. Thus, maximum efficiency is ensured only when radiation hits parts of the body without significant protection. Thick clothing, not to mention protective equipment, dramatically reduces the effect of microwave radiation. How ADS should respond to such “threats” is unknown; details of the studies were not reported.

During the tests, the volunteers were free of any metal or other objects that could heat up under the influence of microwaves. What could be the effect of ADS exposure on metal items of clothing, jewelry, tattoos, etc. - unknown. According to various estimates, a negative impact is not excluded, incl. with delayed effect.

According to well-known reports, the Russian "Foliage" mine-clearing vehicle copes with the assigned tasks and provides both search and disposal of mines. There is the possibility of remote demining, which sharply reduces the risks for the vehicle and its crew. Such capabilities have been repeatedly tested on tests and during exercises.

However, the microwave gun as a means of demining has a significant drawback. Such weapons are only capable of striking explosive devices built using electrical and electronic components. Simpler products, devoid of such "weak points", will have to be neutralized manually, by the forces of sappers who are part of the vehicle's crew.


The demining machine searches for explosive devices. Microwave cannon folded

In addition, the "Foliage" microwave emitter solves only one specific problem and cannot be used for other purposes. Probably, by proper configuration, it can be turned into a non-lethal semblance of ADS, but nothing is known about this.

Subject to limitations


According to known data, the non-lethal ADS weapon system developed by the United States was used to a limited extent by the army and other structures. The Russian product "Foliage" on the same principles found application in the Strategic Missile Forces and provides safe patrolling of the PGRK. New weapons based on microwaves have been announced, but have not yet been brought to full operation. Perhaps this situation will change in the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, preliminary conclusions can be drawn. In theory, microwave weapons can impact and destroy enemy personnel and materiel. The expected effects make it possible to solve a wide range of tasks requiring permanent or temporary incapacitation of the enemy. However, the creation of workable systems of this kind and the search for areas of their application, as practice shows, are associated with certain problems and objective limitations.

Specific disadvantages limit the real scope of application of microwave guns. The maximum possible results have so far been obtained only when developing specialized systems for rather narrow niches. However, leading countries remain interested in microwave directional weapons, realize their advantages and disadvantages - and continue research and design work. It is very likely that new samples that hit the target with microwaves will appear in the very near future and will compare favorably with existing products.
Author:
Photos used:
RF Ministry of Defense, US Department of Defense, Wikimedia Commons
38 comments
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  1. RealPilot
    RealPilot April 6 2021 04: 50
    +2
    Yes, microwave weapons have disadvantages.
    First of all, in the high required power with a small end result. It was used as non-lethal, and consumed a lot of energy. Plus a short range, dimensional installation.

    In this sense, a laser weapon is much more effective: it has a very small focusing spot, which endows it with a high energy density ... That is, it is a "blow with a needle," only with an energy one. Well, the laser is capable of working at long distances, its point of contact with the object is visible (for example, in a thermal imager, if the IR carbon dioxide or fiber / solid-state laser, and if visible, too).

    As a non-lethal weapon, the laser is better, in different spectra you can choose the option: green is strongly and temporarily blind, but from powerful IR there will be burns ...
    Again, there were ideas to burn out the eyes of snipers through their own sights, but this was considered "inhumane".
    1. Nikolaevich I
      Nikolaevich I April 6 2021 05: 26
      +4
      Quote: RealPilot
      there were ideas to burn out the eyes of snipers through their own sights, but this was considered "inhumane".

      Not humane? belay Something is not very hard to believe! In war, as in a good booze ...: a big booze has begun - cut the last cucumber! As an example, we can take the Chinese laser system designed to detect, determine the exact location of the "optics" and blind the enemy, up to the physical damage of sight ....!
      1. Lech from Android.
        Lech from Android. April 6 2021 05: 30
        +1
        The inhuman Chinese turns out to be what , to the Hague Tribunal to send them en masse.
        1. Uncle lee
          Uncle lee April 6 2021 06: 14
          +1
          Infrasound guns are more efficient! Ask Tbilisians ...
          1. NDR-791
            NDR-791 April 6 2021 06: 33
            +5
            "Troposferku" for direct fire, no "Foliage" and did not stand nearby. Takes out everything !!! And there are already a lot of these units in the army.
      2. Professor
        Professor April 6 2021 07: 23
        +1
        Quote: Nikolaevich I
        Quote: RealPilot
        there were ideas to burn out the eyes of snipers through their own sights, but this was considered "inhumane".

        Not humane? belay Something is not very hard to believe! In war, as in a good booze ...: a big booze has begun - cut the last cucumber! As an example, we can take the Chinese laser system designed to detect, determine the exact location of the "optics" and blind the enemy, up to the physical damage of sight ....!

        The Geneva Conventions and the notion of "war crime" have not yet been repealed, so hold on to your last cucumber for the worst times.
        1. Genry
          Genry April 6 2021 09: 32
          +4
          Quote: Professor
          The Geneva Convention and the concept of "war crime" are not yet

          Yes!
          And phosphorus and cluster bombs and expansive bullets and the complete destruction of cities with a population - it is necessary for democratic wars.
          But if the war is not democratic, then shout about Geneva.
          1. Professor
            Professor April 6 2021 09: 55
            -1
            Quote: Genry
            Quote: Professor
            The Geneva Convention and the concept of "war crime" are not yet

            Yes!
            And phosphorus and cluster bombs and expansive bullets and the complete destruction of cities with a population - it is necessary for democratic wars.
            But if the war is not democratic, then shout about Geneva.

            Yes Yes. Take a closer look at this convention. Maybe you won't write these nonsense. hi
        2. Nikolaevich I
          Nikolaevich I April 6 2021 14: 52
          +3
          Quote: Professor
          The Geneva Conventions and the notion of "war crime" have not yet been repealed, so hold on to your last cucumber for the worst times.

          Better take care of yours! Professor, won't you be enough to talk about "innocence"? You are not a "schoolgirl" to seriously believe that if there is a "law", then everyone is obliged to observe and observe it! The same story with antipersonnel mines and cluster weapons ... There is a convention ... signed by over a hundred (or more?) States ... but the largest countries (China, USA, Brazil, Russia and someone else ...) this convention was turned up on the "bitch"! Yes! I almost forgot! Israel was also among the "non-signers"! oh you are "humanists" ... selective! You can ... others can't! Yes, and among those who signed, there are "cadres". Who, on the sly or explicitly, use anti-personnel mines ... and "cassettes"! We don't need to look far from Russia ... Ukraine is near! The people of Kraintsi swore an oath to throw the mines out of their armaments ... they signed the document ... and use the "forbidden" weapons with might and main! In addition, it should be borne in mind that the convention prohibits "hooligans to deprive citizens of their sight" if these laser emitters are specially designed to deprive "ordinary citizens "vision (this is their main and only function!) But the convention does not prohibit the use of laser systems for the temporary blindness of humans and other functions! What the military uses (!): Systems are produced with a statement that they only temporarily blind ... or, for example, "this is only a rangefinder ..." but are equipped with a "cunning toggle switch" that "turns" an "almost humane device" into a weapon ! And Israel does not build a "virgin" ... if "God's chosen" "rooster" in the zho..yellow shorts will bite so well, they will grab the "nuclear club" at once, not thinking about "humanity"! Finis sanctificat media! (End justifies the means!)
          Now about Chinese laser systems! "Blinding" system ZM-87 ...: At a distance of 3 km "directly", and with a special lens, up to 5 km irreversibly affects the eyesight (!) ... at a distance of 10 km causes blinding ... Developed in 1995 After the dissemination of the relevant convention, all references, photos of the ZM-87 disappeared ... but there were no and there are no statements from the Chinese that the system has been removed from service! There are sources that claim that the samples produced at one time remain in service with the Chinese army, but any mention of them is strictly prohibited! Further: the tank complex of optical countermeasures JD-3 ... is able not only to blind the "user" with an optical sight; but also irreversibly damage vision at a certain distance!
          1. Professor
            Professor April 6 2021 15: 33
            +2
            Why did they write so many letters when the subject is as simple as a felt boot? Signed commitments - follow them otherwise it will be bad. Not signed, God be your judge. This is about the Non-Proliferation Treaty and about phosphorus and cluster munitions and other voluntary gang bangs.
            However, the Geneva Convention is not entirely voluntary. Didn't sign, but violated? They can also attract.
            Something like that and "temporarily blinding (for a lifetime) light weapons." If you are the ruler of North Korea, then most likely you have nothing to fear from persecution. Since there is actually nothing to lose. Otherwise, back to cucumbers.

            PS
            Somehow in 1973 when the Germans were near Moscow Israel has not forgotten about humanity.
            1. Nikolaevich I
              Nikolaevich I April 6 2021 15: 55
              +1
              Quote: Professor
              For some reason, in 1973 Israel did not forget about humanity.

              Yes, because then the "beak" of the aforementioned rooster of "Arab origin" only aimed at the "shorts"; but did not get the "tonsils" through that place! (However, the Israelis then hung up the vigorous bonbs on their "kfirs" ... just in case!) ...
              1. Professor
                Professor April 6 2021 16: 41
                +2
                I also love urban legends. Especially about nuclear weapons on Israeli planes in 1973. The facts, however, show that when no more than a company of Israeli Centurions stood between the Syrian armored divisions and Haifa and Tel Aviv, none of the Zionists forgot about humanity.
          2. barsik92090
            barsik92090 22 June 2021 14: 18
            0
            with a razor and over the eyes, is it prohibited?
        3. dzvero
          dzvero April 6 2021 15: 40
          0
          EMNIP, according to the convention, means that infect the naked eye are prohibited. There is nothing about defeat when they look into the optics. Which is logical, because then it is necessary to ban laser rangefinders, for example.
          1. Professor
            Professor April 6 2021 19: 21
            +2
            Quote: dzvero
            EMNIP, according to the convention, means that infect the naked eye are prohibited. There is nothing about defeat when they look into the optics. Which is logical, because then it is necessary to ban laser rangefinders, for example.

            The laser rangefinder is not intended to harm the eyesight of the enemy. Laser weapons have.

            Quote: Nestor Vlahovski
            The Geneva Convention and the concept of "war crime" have not yet been abolished
            Your references to the protocols of the Geneva Convention on the prohibition of "inhuman" methods and means of warfare look like a mockery given the fact that Russia has signed them and is observing them, but Israel has not signed them and continues their systematic application without incurring any legal consequences :)

            For example?
            1. abrakadabre
              abrakadabre April 6 2021 21: 50
              0
              The laser rangefinder is not intended to harm the eyesight of the enemy. Laser weapons have.
              Then, too: small arms, like weapons in general, have as their goal of causing harm to the health of the enemy. We must prohibit ...
        4. Nestor Vlakhovski
          Nestor Vlakhovski April 6 2021 18: 15
          -1
          The Geneva Convention and the concept of "war crime" have not yet been abolished
          Your references to the protocols of the Geneva Convention on the prohibition of "inhuman" methods and means of warfare look like a mockery given the fact that Russia has signed them and is observing them, but Israel has not signed them and continues their systematic application without incurring any legal consequences :)
      3. Viktor Sergeev
        Viktor Sergeev April 6 2021 08: 26
        0
        Laser devices are quite functional.
        1. Vitaly gusin
          Vitaly gusin April 6 2021 11: 41
          0
          Quote: Victor Sergeev
          Laser devices are quite functional.

          There are more suitable weapons. Electromagnetic impulse weapons (EMP) and it is not lethal, but the consequences are very serious.
          1. Viktor Sergeev
            Viktor Sergeev April 6 2021 12: 39
            0
            And how can it help against snipers?
            1. Vitaly gusin
              Vitaly gusin April 6 2021 13: 38
              0
              Quote: Victor Sergeev
              And how can it help against snipers?

              If pointwise, then such a bulky technique is not needed against a sniper, and it will not be able to get close to him, for this there are a lot of other modern means of destroying a sniper.
              EMP is a non-lethal, but highly destructive weapon that emits an electromagnetic pulse that disables all electrical circuits within a certain radius. Those. returns people to a time when there was no electricity.
            2. barsik92090
              barsik92090 22 June 2021 14: 20
              0
              crawling from behind and with a shovel on the neck!
              1. Viktor Sergeev
                Viktor Sergeev 22 June 2021 18: 24
                0
                This will help. Where a shovel will not help, nothing will help.
  2. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I April 6 2021 05: 36
    0
    The maximum possible results have so far been obtained only when developing specialized systems for rather narrow niches. However, the leading countries remain interested in microwave directional weapons, realize their advantages and disadvantages - and continue research and design work ... Well, only in the last messages there is already infa about two developments in the USA! These are "microwave ovens" for the Tomahawk CD and for the UAV-fighter drone! If about the UAV, it is more or less clear ... for now (!); then about the "tomahawks" overwhelm!
  3. Free wind
    Free wind April 6 2021 06: 50
    +3
    Any metal coating is insurmountable for microwave radiation. Look at your microwave.
    1. swnvaleria
      swnvaleria April 6 2021 08: 32
      +2
      so that's why foil hats are worn
    2. Vol4ara
      Vol4ara April 6 2021 10: 22
      0
      Quote: Free Wind
      Any metal coating is insurmountable for microwave radiation. Look at your microwave.

      What happens to a metal coating when exposed to microwaves?
      1. Free wind
        Free wind April 6 2021 14: 19
        0
        Nothing, nothing at all.
        1. Dread
          Dread April 6 2021 14: 58
          -5
          Quote: Free Wind
          Any metal coating is insurmountable for microwave radiation. Look at your microwave.

          Free wind, you are partly right! fellow hi
      2. Dread
        Dread April 6 2021 14: 21
        -1
        Quote: Vol4ara
        Quote: Free Wind
        Any metal coating is insurmountable for microwave radiation. On his microwave take a look.

        What happens to a metal coating when exposed to microwaves?

        It is illusory to compare a microwave oven - cavity resonator, with an outer metal coating of the UAV, where reflection and re-emission of the microwave signal can occur, in the absence of grounding! drinks hi
        1. Dread
          Dread April 6 2021 14: 49
          0
          PS And it is also impossible to consider
          impact random antennas, both concentrated and distributed, when the UAV is irradiated from different angles!
      3. dzvero
        dzvero April 6 2021 15: 53
        0
        what happens to a metal coating when exposed to microwaves?

        The mirror is the closest analogue. Most of the energy is reflected, some is absorbed and converted into heat, some is used to induce eddy currents -> induction in circuits and into heat.
    3. TOR2
      TOR2 April 6 2021 22: 14
      0
      Quote: Free Wind
      Any metal coating is insurmountable for microwave radiation. Look at your microwave.

      In 1836, the English physicist Faraday invented a screen to protect equipment from electromagnetic fields, which later became known as the Faraday cage. And even this specialized device is not able to protect against a constant or slowly changing magnetic field. For example, in such a cell, the compass still correctly points to the north, which tells us that the magnetic lines of the Earth freely penetrate into the inner volume of the cell. So it's better not to be too close to a working microwave at home. The penetrating power of this stuff is phenomenal. Any wire passing through the screen or small leaks and stray pickups are provided.
    4. barsik92090
      barsik92090 22 June 2021 14: 21
      0
      Not from the inside!
  4. Basarev
    Basarev April 6 2021 13: 34
    +1
    Pampering is everything. It is necessary to strive for masers who have all the advantages of laser systems that are now widely known, but at the same time are free from optical limitations. Neither smoke nor fog will stop the maser beam.
  5. yfast
    yfast April 9 2021 11: 24
    0
    Quote: Professor
    The Geneva Conventions and the notion of "war crime" have not yet been repealed, so hold on to your last cucumber for the worst times.

    So is it that a bullet in the eye can be fatal, but a laser with the loss of only the eye is not? It is possible to work peacefully with one eye, but rarely with a bullet in the head or without the back of the head.
  6. yfast
    yfast April 9 2021 11: 33
    0
    Quote: Vitaly Gusin
    EMP is a non-lethal, but highly destructive weapon that emits an electromagnetic pulse that disables all electrical circuits within a certain radius. Those. returns people to a time when there was no electricity.

    It does not turn off anything, it simply induces many hundreds of volts for a short time into unshielded places. Capacitors and semiconductor junctions break through, and so on. If everything is shielded and the antennas are somehow protected, then it is not very harmful. And now airplanes are made of composites, not aluminum. The F - 35 is likely to suffer from EMP.
  7. Max PV
    Max PV April 26 2021 23: 23
    0
    It's a pity the American freaks never stormed Area 51. Otherwise, ADS would definitely not cope with the "thick-skinned" furry suits and foil hats))
    But seriously, I don't see much point in illegal weapons of this type. It is more promising, in my opinion, to use such systems to "blind" the enemy's radar, since any locator has receiver protection means that turn it off when the input signal is at a dangerous level, regardless of frequency, and high frequencies of the microwave installation make it possible to obtain a very narrow radiation pattern a transmitter that can be used on airplanes, UAVs and cruise missiles, to "blind" the radar on approach to the target, or vice versa, "blind" missiles with radar guidance and radar reconnaissance NTS on airplanes and UAVs.