Recent reports stemming from the Dominican Republic have revealed that the country has been involved with the development and testing of psychotronic weapons over the past few years. Psychotronic weapons, often referred to as “mind control devices”, enable their users to subtly manipulate the thoughts of whomever they please. Weapons such as these possess enormous potential to be used in a near unlimited number of situations.
The program behind the development of these weapons is called INFOTEP, a Dominican government-backed organization that specializes in DEW (directed energy weapons). According to a former employee, INFOTEP’s psychotronic weaponry has been responsible for the deaths of at least two dozen individuals around the Caribbean, including a Hattian military commander. The same ex-employee described the use of a device that could fit inside of a van and would drive an individual to suicide. These reports have certainly intrigued and frightened many since they were released by the Abreu Report earlier this year (1).
Even stranger, in February of 2016, a former New York Times reporter was mysteriously strangled to death after conducting an investigation on the matter. According to an anonymous employee of INFOTEP, the New York Times reporter, Sarah Kershaw, had inquired about the details of suspicious equipment sent from General Electric’s research facility in New York to a plant in the Dominican Republic (2). Conspirators now believe that the equipment sent to the Dominican Republic did not come from the General Electric plant, but from a Pentagon research facility. If this were to be the case, the United States could very well have their hand in this operation.
However, there exists no other evidence of the situation besides these verbal reports to suggest of any other malevolent activity. Regardless, the news that psychotronic weapons are being tested is exciting in itself. The ability to manipulate or control the thoughts of an individual is an incredibly powerful capacity to possess. Unfortunately, the exact details of the weapons being tested remain a mystery to the public at this time. More information on this subject will likely surface over the coming years as the technology evolves from its current state. Fairly soon, the works of science fiction may turn out to be science fact.
(1) White, Greg. "Psychotronic Weapons In The Caribbean Can Force Victims To Commit Suicide." Glitch News. N.p., 14 June 2016. Web.
(2) Pickard, Gabrielle. "Was NYT Reporter Researching Psychotronic Weapons Murdered?" Top Secret Writers. N.p., 1 June 2016. Web.
Image: © Dlrz4114 | Dreamstime.com - Dominican Soldiers Marching
Recently, the U.S.-based aerospace and defense company Raytheon has started the production of a series of satellites that aim to give soldiers on the ground a reliable and effective eye in the sky. Called “Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements” or SeeMe, this DARPA-backed program consists of a number of disposable miniature satellites that will allow foot soldiers to access live satellite imagery from the palm of their hand.
Currently, the average soldier on the ground relies primarily on military intelligence from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or satellites. Although effective, both forms of reconnaissance cannot constantly provide real-time information to troops on the front line. UAVs can only stay airborne for limited amounts of time and current satellites do not possess the capability for live images.
With SeeMe, soldiers will be able to view live satellite images from a handheld device such as a smartphone or tablet (1). The capability for any soldier to have access to this level of military intelligence is unparalleled on the battlefield today. If effective, SeeMe will give its users a decisive advantage in any combat situation—from a small skirmish to a large-scale battle.
Another enticing aspect of SeeMe is its low cost and disposability. Previous satellites require massive rockets to be launched into space and can cost upwards of $1 billion. SeeMe weighs roughly 50 pounds and possess an expected price tag of less than $500,000. In addition, SeeMe satellites are only supposed to last anywhere from 60 to 90 days in orbit, falling towards the ground and burning up in the atmosphere afterwards (2).
The potential behind this program is precisely why DARPA has supported it. Later this year, SeeMe is planned to be sent into low orbit via the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (3). Once safely launched, the satellites will be tested by American foot soldiers over the course of a few months. If all goes well, plans exist for over two dozen more satellites to be launched into orbit over the coming years.
If successful, SeeMe will likely be the first in a long line of disposable satellites, whose industry is supposed to grow to over $7 billion over the next several years (4).
(1) Wicnner, David. "Raytheon Developing Tiny Satellites to Help Troops on the Ground." Korea Stripes. N.p., 17 Oct. 2016. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.
(3) "Raytheon." Tiny Satellite Work Ramps Up. N.p., 14 Jan. 2015. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.
Image: © Mikephotos | Dreamstime.com - SpaceX rocket launch and landing
Over the past ten years, no term has become more synonymous with guerrilla and asymmetric warfare than the IED. An IED, or improvised explosive device, is defined as any bomb that is deployed in a manner deemed unconventional by modern military standards. Generally, IEDs are munitions, such as unused artillery rounds, that have been repurposed into a fully functioning bomb. These bombs are commonly placed alongside roads, in buildings, or even inside cars, and can be remotely detonated by a single individual. It is this ease of use and low cost that has caused the IED to become a favorite amongst insurgent groups throughout the Middle East.
According to data from the Pentagon, since 2003, nearly two-thirds of all U.S. Military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan were due to IEDs (1). As a result of these staggering losses, the United States Military has been forced to spend millions of dollars on equipment to counter these weapons. A few examples include IED-resistant trucks, specialized IED removal vehicles, and designated bomb disposal units. However, as the countermeasures to IEDs have evolved, so have the IEDs themselves.
Recently, fighters from the Islamic State (ISIL) have begun using drones as vessels for IEDs. The handful of reports that exist describe commercially bought fixed-wing and quad-rotor drones carrying small amounts of explosives deep into friendly territory (2). So far, the casualties from these “red drones” have been minimal, however their potential is quite frightening. Drones themselves are inherently difficult to detect because of their size and maneuverability. This means that a small drone fitted with explosives could, hypothetically, fly undetected nearly anywhere and inflict untold amounts of damage.
Needless to say, this issue has caught the attention of the United States Military. Recently, a budget document sent to Congress requested approval for a shift of $2.5 billion in defense funds to accommodate current needs (3). These needs include the development of countermeasures for what the Pentagon calls “small and tactical unmanned aerial systems”.
Some ideas include the use of laser weapon systems in order to take down enemy drones. Lasers such as the one aboard the USS Ponce have already proven themselves more than capable of the task (4). However, although certainly effective, lasers are currently too expensive to deploy in large enough numbers across the battlefield. Another solution comes in the form of the “DroneDefender”, a handheld directed-energy drone countermeasure (5). The DroneDefender works by interfering with a drone’s remote control and/or GPS, rendering the drone uncontrollable. This solution is especially enticing for the military due to its low cost and ease of use.
Over the coming years, as IED-armed drones become more common, the use of these countermeasures will become more apparent. One thing is for sure, in a cat-and-mouse game that is the War on Terror, both sides will continue to evolve.
(1) Zoroya, Gregg. "How the IED Changed the U.S. Military." USA Today. Gannett, 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
(2) "Islamic State Fighters Using Drones with IEDs and Spy Cameras, Says Pentagon." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 7 July 2016. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
(4) Schehl, Matthew L. "U.S. Troops Face New Threat as ISIS Deploys Flying IEDs." Marine Corps Times. N.p., 12 Oct. 2016. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
(5) Epstein, Zach. "New Rifle Shoots Drones out of the Sky without Firing a Single Bullet." BGR. N.p., 16 Oct. 2015. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
Image: © Sadık Güleç | Dreamstime.com - Iraqi Soldiers
Over the last twenty years, the city-state of Dubai has blossomed into one of the world’s most technologically advanced urban centers. Boasting man-made islands, a massive waterfront development, and the world’s tallest building, there are few cities that can compare to Dubai’s super-modern infrastructure. However, despite being the world’s most advanced city, Dubai is still planning to expand.
In 2013, Tesla co-founder Elon Musk proposed a high speed electric train system, the Hyperloop, that would connect cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. Three years later, Dubai has partnered with Hyperloop One, a Los Angeles-based company, in order to make this pipe dream a reality (1).
Hyperloop One has reportedly received a total of $160 million in funding since 2014; $50 million of which came from the Dubai-based company DP World in late 2016. DP World is currently the third-largest port and terminal operator in the world and is hoping to grow even bigger with this most recent investment (2).
Concept art and theoretical models depict the Hyperloop as a cylindrical pod inside of an enclosed track. The enclosed track allows for the pod to travel in a vacuum, therefore eliminating any drag from air resistance. The pod itself is then propelled along the track by a series of powerful electromagnets. This combination means that the train can theoretically reach speeds in excess of 700 miles per hour, faster than a commercial airliner (3). On paper, this system also happens to be incredibly fuel efficient. The absence of significant drag means that the pod only needs propulsion for the first 5% of the track, gliding effortlessly the rest of the way (4).
The primary drawback of the Hyperloop is the construction and maintenance of the system. Building and maintaining hundreds of miles of air-sealed railways will cost enormous amounts of money. This is especially true in Dubai as the planned track will have to cross under bodies of water and through mountain ranges.
Although the Hyperloop is certainly one of the more exciting projects being worked on right now, it is still in its infancy. Only a handful of scaled down prototypes currently exist, meaning that most claims of the Hyperloop’s abilities are loosely backed from scientific calculations.
This will surely change as a full scale test of the system is planned for the first quarter of 2017 (2). If the demonstration is a success, one can almost guarantee that many more investors will be pouring their money into the Hyperloop. Failure could mean major setbacks, pushing the reality of the Hyperloop even further into the future.
Whether or not the test is a success is fairly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. The Hyperloop has caught the eye that its construction is almost inevitable. Barring a major catastrophe, systems like the Hyperloop will be commonplace in the somewhat near future.
(1) Gambrell, Jon. "Futuristic Dubai Dreams of Hyperloop Transit Tubes." ABC News. ABC News Network, 4 Oct. 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
(2) "$50mn Closer: Hyperloop One Gets Investment from Its Dubai Backer, Hires Ex-Google Treasurer." RT International. N.p., 14 Oct. 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
(3) "Hyperloop One Just Received Millions to Make Superfast Transport a Reality." Futurism. N.p., 16 Oct. 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
(4) Billington, James. "Will Dubai Build the World's First Underwater Hyperloop System?" International Business Times RSS. N.p., 05 Oct. 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
Image: © Liseykina | Dreamstime.com - Sunset at Dubai, UAE
Lasers are perhaps the most common form of Directed Energy Weapon (DEW) found in today’s militaries. Their popularity is due, in part, to their relative simplicity and their unparalleled effectiveness on the battlefield. Over the recent decades, as laser technology has continually improved, one type of laser has seemingly come out on top, the solid-state laser.
A solid-state laser is one that utilizes a solid mass, in place of a gas or liquid, as its gain medium. This solid mass is generally a crystal that has been artificially infused with rare earth ions and/or transition metals. Some examples of these solids commonly include materials such as neodymium, ytterbium, titanium, and chromium (1).
The benefits of using solid-state lasers, as opposed to liquid or gas lasers, are numerous. The first advantage being that solid-state lasers are far more economical to manufacture on a large scale than comparable liquid or gas mediums. The process of producing viable crystals is rather simple and inexpensive, meaning that mass production of solid-state lasers for militaries will be a viable option in the future. In addition, solid-state lasers are efficient in terms of their energy usage. Often times in gas lasers, much of the material is wasted, resulting in a drastic reduction in energy efficiency. By contrast, material is not wasted when using mediums that are solid at room temperature. Finally, solid-state lasers are able to function with either a pulsed or continuous wave output. This translates to a more diverse selection of options when weaponized (1).
The United States Military has certainly taken a major interest in solid-state lasers over the last ten years. A multitude of programs and weapon systems that use solid-state lasers are already in existence today. Some of those programs include LaWS, the Navy’s own solid-state laser that has been fitted onto ships in the Persian Gulf with great success (2). Another program is Northrop Grumman’s FIRESTRIKE laser weapon system, a modular weapon that can be outfitted onto a wide variety of vehicles for a different missions (3). Also, there are plans for solid-state lasers to be placed aboard the F-35 Lightning II, the United States Military’s newest joint strike fighter (4).
Expect to hear more about solid-state lasers over the coming years as countries besides the United States try their hand at Directed Energy Weapons.
(1) "Solid State Lasers." Electronics Engineering Notes, Lectures, Projects. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
(2) McCaney, Kevin. "Navy Cranks up the Power on Laser Weapon -- Defense Systems." Defense Systems. N.p., 28 June 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
(3) Szondy, David. "Northrop Grumman Tests New Laser Weapon." Northrop Grumman Tests New Laser Weapon. N.p., 14 May 2012. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
(4) Gallagher, Sean. "Marine Corps Wants to Put Lasers on F-35 (and Everything Else)." Ars Technica. N.p., 31 Aug. 2016. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
Image: © Jordan Tan | Dreamstime.com - Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth multi-role joint strike fighter on display at Singapore Airshow 2012
Amidst the hills of the remote Guizhou Province in southwestern China lies the largest radio telescope on the planet. Referred to as FAST, or Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope, this behemoth has been built by the Chinese government in order to monitor deep space radio frequencies primarily in search of extraterrestrial life.
Stretching 500 meters from tip to tip and taking up space equivalent to 30 football fields, FAST easily dwarfs all of its contemporaries (1). As in the case of all telescopes, bigger is better. More surface area allows for more light to be collected, therefore improving the image seen. This same logic applies to radio telescopes but instead of collecting light, FAST collects radio signals.
FAST is so massive that unlike other, smaller, telescopes it cannot be rotated. To get around this, special mirrored panels on the telescope allow for the signal to be directed towards different parts of the sky (2). FAST’s massive size gives it a range of 1,351 light years, a distance that no other telescope can come close to competing with (3).
Part of the reason for the scientific community’s excitement behind FAST is due to the recent success of other radio telescopes. Radio telescopes have played a crucial role in a handful of recent major astronomical discoveries, such as pulsars, quasars and cosmic microwave background radiation. Additionally, 6 of the last 10 Nobel prizes in physics have been attributed to the work of radio telescopes (1). Many scientists believe that FAST will further improve and expand on these recent findings by other radio telescopes.
Perhaps the most enticing aspect of FAST is the part it will play in the search for extraterrestrial life. FAST’s potential to discover alien life has been estimated to be 5 to 10 times greater than all other current telescopes (1). This is primarily due to the fact that FAST can see planets that are farther away and darker than previous technology could see. If anything has the chance to detect alien life, it’s FAST.
FAST was activated on September 25, 2016, meaning that its search for alien life has just begun.
(1) "Xinhua Insight: Installation Complete on World's Largest Radio Telescope." - Xinhua. N.p., 07 July 2016. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.
(2) Nelson, Bryan. "World's Largest Telescope Now Ready to Receive Messages from E.T." MNN. N.p., 01 Oct. 2016. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.
(3) Smith, Gina. "FAST Forward: China’s Massive New Alien-Finding Telescope Explained." ANewDomain. N.p., 05 Sept. 2016. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.
Image: © Zhanglianxun | Dreamstime.com - Armillary sphere
Unmanned vehicles have become commonplace on battlefields today. From aerial reconnaissance to bomb disposal, drones complete a wide variety of tasks that are deemed too risky or too expensive for humans or manned vehicles. In spite of the success of drones in their respective fields of work, many countries, including the United States, have been hesitant to assign drones to actual combat roles. However, the Russian Federation has recently released a vehicle that could be the first drone to face front line duty.
Named the Uran-9 Vikhr (Whirlwind) by the Russian military, this UGCV (Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle) is the first, and the deadliest, of its kind. Weighing in at around 15 tons, the Uran-9 possesses an operational range of 600 km, a maximum road speed of 60 km/h, and a swimming speed of 10 km/h (1). Because of its size and weight, the vehicle can be airlifted by helicopter and is mobile enough to operate in nearly any terrain. This means that the Uran-9 will be able to provide fire support for infantry in situations where armored support would be previously impossible.
In addition to its outstanding mobility, the Uran-9 is designed to be completely modular, meaning that its weapons’ loadout can be altered depending on the mission. The standard armament for the vehicle consists of a 30 mm automatic cannon, a coaxial 7.62 machine gun, and six anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) (1). These weapons, combined with state-of-the-art optics, give the drone the ability to deal with infantry, soft targets, and even other tanks. The Uran-9 can also be equipped with anti-air missiles, flamethrowers, and even light artillery attachments, further expanding its abilities on the battlefield.
Despite its impressive abilities on paper, and in Russian military videos, the weapon has its limitations. The Uran-9 is controlled via radio by a team of soldiers operating out of a nearby trailer. This system severely limits the possible effectiveness of the Uran-9 as certain terrain can block line-of-sight radio signals (2). Not only that, but radios are also prone to jamming by enemy electronic countermeasures. Without a radio signal, the vehicle would be rendered useless and inoperable, likely at the expense of its supporting soldiers.
In reality, the actual combat capabilities of the Uran-9 are quite limited. Relying on multiple individuals to control a single tank at once brings up questions of how efficiently the system will actually run. This issue, combined with the relatively unreliable nature of radio signals lead many to believe that the weapon will not see active combat anytime soon. One thing is for certain, the Uran-9 will not be the last of its kind. Expect to see more countries trying their hand at their own UGCVs over the next few years.
(1) Novichkov, Nikolai. "New Russian Combat UGV Breaks Cover, Uran-9 Readies for Service." Defence & Security Intelligence & Analysis. N.p., 9 Sept. 2016. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
(2) Rogoway, Tyler. "Russia's Drone Tank Looks Cool In Videos But Is It Tactically Relevant?" Foxtrot Alpha. N.p., 28 Mar. 2016. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
Image: © Oleg Nesterkin | Dreamstime.com - Meeting of the military leadership
On the 6th of May, 1937, the aerospace industry was changed forever. As the infamous Hindenburg airship attempted to land in a New Jersey air dockyard, a small fire broke out aboard the ship. Within a few minutes the entire vehicle was engulfed in flames and 36 individuals inside the airship were killed (1). It was that disaster that seemingly put an end to the short lived era of zeppelins and airships for quite some time.
By far the greatest flaw of early 20th century airships was their reliance on hydrogen gas for buoyancy. Although hydrogen is “lighter than air” it also happens to be extremely flammable. It was this flammability that caused the Hindenburg to burn so violently. Thankfully, modern airships make use of helium, and not hydrogen, to make themselves buoyant. The primary benefit from using helium lies in the nature of the element. Helium is an inert gas, meaning that it will never react with any other element while still being lighter than air.
Fast forward to 2016, some 80 years later, and it seems as if lighter-than-air vehicles could slowly be making a comeback. While most airships nowadays are usually found circling various sporting events, one aerospace company is trying its hand at something completely different. The Worldwide Aeros Corporation is currently working on what it calls the “Aeroscraft”. This 555 foot-long experimental lighter-than-air vehicle is designed to be able to transport large amounts of cargo nearly anywhere in the world (2).
At first, the concept of airships ferrying cargo may seem a bit antiquated with modern infrastructure and technology. However, lighter-than-air vehicles such as the Aeroscraft offer numerous advantages over conventional fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
The greatest advantage of airships lies in their efficient use of fuel. Simply put, airships allow for larger possible payloads at significantly lower costs. The efficiency of an airship is due to its use of helium gas. While fixed wing aircraft must fight the force of gravity in order to stay airborne, airships are able to glide effortlessly through the skies while using a fraction of the energy. This means that an airship such as the Aeroscraft will require less fuel than a similarly sized conventional aircraft.
Another significant advantage of lighter-than-air vehicles is their ability to land nearly anywhere. Where fixed wing aircraft require runways in order to take off and land, airships only require a relatively small landing pad. This means that airships can transport cargo in areas where airports, roads, or railroads are non-existent. For example, the Aeroscraft could deliver supplies across the expanse of the Canadian north, where roads are only operable one month out of the year (3).
While the future of airships is certainly exciting, we may have to wait a little longer before it is actually here. The Aeroscraft underwent testing in 2013 and since then Worldwide Aeros has been perfecting its internal components. Although there is no date set in stone, the Aeroscraft is expected to be ready for operation on a large scale within the next five years. If the Aeroscraft is a success, it could lead to a whole new generation of modern airships.
(1) By Noon on May 6th the Ship Had Reached Boston, and by 3:00 PM Hindenburg Was over the Skyscrapers of Manhattan in New York City (view Photograph). "The Hindenburg Disaster." Airshipsnet A Dirigible and Zeppelin History Site RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.
(2) Dockrill, Peter. "Production Is Underway on the World's Largest Aircraft." ScienceAlert. N.p., 14 Sept. 2015. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.
(3) Dorminey, Bruce. "Is There a Future for Airships?" Scientific American. N.p., 03 May 2011. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.
Image: © Jdanne | Dreamstime.com - Zeppelin
The United States’ Military is the world’s leader when it comes to fielding cutting edge technology on the battlefield. Part of the reason behind the technological superiority of the military lies in the government backed programs that help link private research to the public sector. One such program is called DIUx or “Defense Innovation Unit Experimental”.
Founded in the Silicon Valley during April of 2015, the primary goal of DIUx is to build a working relationship between the military and private technology companies (1). With help from programs such as DIUx, the United States’ Military has been able to utilize the latest technology available today. The list of new equipment includes everything from weaponized laser systems that destroy targets with ease to injectable sponges that stop hemorrhaging in a few seconds. Many, if not all, of these revolutionary weapons owe their start to privately run research companies.
As a result of the success by DIUx technologies, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter recently announced the plans for the construction of a second DIUx research center in Boston, Massachusetts. Carter and his associates hope that this new east coast hub will further expand the reach of DIUx, giving the military more access to the newest technology available. This second location also strives to implement new strategies in hopes of increasing the efficiency by which new ideas are turned into working prototypes.
If all goes according to plan, this second addition to DIUx will likely bring the United States back to the level of armament research and development which it maintained during the height of the Cold War. Although some believe that this may not be necessary, countries such as Russia, Iran, and China have already begun their own innovative processes for arms development. If the United States is to maintain its position atop the world’s weapons race then it is necessary to continue bridging the gap between the public and private sectors of research.
(1) Pomerleau, Mark. "Carter Christens DIUx Boston." FederalTimes. 27 July 2016. Web. 03 Sept. 2016.
Image: © Wangkun Jia | Dreamstime.com - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
As the global arms race drives on into the 21st century, many countries have turned their attention towards the research and development of Directed Energy Weapons. Directed Energy Weapons, or DEWs, are defined as any weapon that emits focused energy and can transfer said energy to inflict damage upon a target.
DEWs are broken up into two distinct classifications—lasers and microwave weapons. Lasers, the more well-known of the DEWs, work by using a super-heated plasma projectile that can inflict massive amounts of damage onto a target. Laser weapon systems can be currently found in limited numbers across all branches of the United States’ military. So far, even in their limited time on the battlefield, lasers have already proven themselves extremely effective and efficient.
High Powered Microwaves (HPMs) are the other form of DEW. Where lasers are primarily used for destroying single targets at great distances, HPMs are primarily designed to be non-lethal and can effect a rather large area. One of the main capabilities of HPMs is the disruption of enemy electronic equipment. Although electronic warfare may not have the same appeal as conventional warfare, one must realize how much militaries today rely on electronic equipment in order to operate. The average foot soldier is covered head to toe in electronics, from his GPS, to the optics on his rifle. If these systems were to fail, then the overall combat effectiveness of not just the individual, but entire unit, would be compromised. This is the primary reason for the interest behind HPMs; battles can be won without a single life being lost, hypothetically.
One of the first working HPMs was unveiled in Russia earlier this year. Named the “Ranets E”, this HPM is designed to disrupt enemy airborne threats such as drones, guided missiles, and even aircraft from distances of over twenty miles. Experts describe the Ranets E as a sort of “radio frequency cannon”; it possess a powerful directional beam of electromagnetic radiation and causes short circuits in electrical equipment, rendering them essentially useless. The entire system is self-propelled, based atop the chassis of a MZKT-7930, a Russian multipurpose transport vehicle. This ensures that the Ranets E is able to keep pace with other mechanized units on the battlefield (2).
The primary mission for the Ranets E will be to accompany mobile Surface to Air Missile (SAM) platforms. The Ranets E will theoretically protect the SAMs by disrupting and disabling guidance systems on precision guided munitions (PGMs).
Despite the promise behind the Ranets E, many experts in the west believe that Russia may be exaggerating its abilities. The data that accompanies reports from the Ranets E has been inconsistent, leading many to believe it to be Russian propaganda. Although the Ranets E may not be as effective as the Russian government may want us to believe, it has still influenced a handful of countries to start their own projects.
The United States’ Air Force is currently in the midst of developing their own HPM that could see limited service within the next decade (3).
As global politics, along with the modern battlefield, change expect countries to slowly turn to the use of High Powered Microwaves for use in their military. HPMs are an effective and non-lethal alternative to conventional weapons that could change the face of war for years to come.
(1) "27 Jul 2016 — Resurgence of High Power Microwave Weapons." - Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS). Web. 28 Aug. 2016.
(2) "Ranets E – High Power Microwave Directed Energy Weapon." Thai Military and Asian Region. 19 Aug. 2016. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.
(3) "Air Force Looking for Power Sources and Antennas for Future High-power Microwave Weapons." Air Force Looking for Power Sources and Antennas for Future High-power Microwave Weapons. 27 Apr. 2016. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.
Image: © Milan P. Mihajlovic | Dreamstime.com - Mobile military radar-3