From Sun Jan 2 10:15:07 2005
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2004 01:05:24 -0600 (CST)
Subject: [DU-WATCH] DEWS AND E BOMBS USED IN IRAQ? (they emit radiation)
Article: 200593
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;

DEWs and E bombs used in Iraq?

By Indira Rai-Choudhury,, 31 December 2004

System-killing beams of energy DEW emerged into public view in 1983–84, when President Ronald Reagan hoped to make them the heart of a leakproof missile defense system. As yet, they haven't lived up to that billing, but they may soon rival or replace conventional explosive munitions, if their worth is proved in Iraq. They produce beams of concentrated electromagnetic energy or atomic or subatomic particles against enemy weapons and facilities, incapacitating radar installations, command centers, and all communications and network equipment.

DEWs based on microwaves can already be fielded for combat, but versions based on laser or accelerator technology probably require more technical breakthroughs to become useful. Eventually, successors projecting laser or plasma beams will destroy tanks and missiles, not unlike the “death ray” guns foreseen by science fiction writers of yore.

The DEWs likely to see their initiation in Iraq are High-Power Microwave (HPM) devices. A pulse of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation from these weapons distorts, damages or destroys electronic components, including circuitry in weapons, computers, communication systems, and electrical networks. The high-power microwaves essentially “fry” sensitive internal components and can travel along wire paths or ventilation shafts to reach even shielded devices in deeply buried underground bunkers. A curious mixture of old and new tech, today's HPMs obtain their energy from a conventional explosion whose kinetic energy is converted into a radio-frequency weapon.

Bomb-pumped energy beams HPM bombs, nicknamed e-bombs, rely on a device called an explosive-pumped flux compressor. Flux compressors take the explosive power of a conventional bomb to create a huge pulse of radio waves and microwaves and channel it into a targeted beam. The technology is astonishingly simple. Itbs basically a metal cylinder filled with explosive material and located inside a coiled cylinder of wire. An electric current generated by a bank of capacitors flows through the wire, and a wire waveguide or “antenna” at the end of the cylinder directs the energy outward.

The explosion inside the metal cylinder generates a magnetic field that is squeezed by a moving short circuit caused by the metal tube touching the coil.

The field is amplified as the blast travels along the cylinder, and its tremendous electromagnetic energy flows into the antenna, where it is emitted as a huge pulse, perhaps in the millions of watts and amps range, just microseconds before the weapon itself is destroyed.

The likely delivery platform for this kind of HPW is a GPS-guided smart bomb or a cruise missile. Its targets would be command centers, radar installations, or underground bunkers, which the microwaves would enter through ventilation shafts or conduits for power or communication wiring. The e-bomb is a one-shot, single-use weapon. The High-Energy Microwave Laboratory (Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M) of the Air Force Research Laboratories (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio) hopes to develop a multiple-fire HPM weapon that could be outfitted on combat aircraft or ships.

As with any new technology, there are uncertainties about HPWbs battlefield performance and as its immediate impacts may not be visible, there is doubt even about the possibility of adequately evaluating its performance in combat.

Depending on range, shielding, target materials and other factors, the e-bomb may utterly destroy or only merely stun electronic circuitry.

HPM bombs have been heralded as nonlethal; the premise being that equipment would be destroyed but lives would be spared. But human exposure to such high degrees of radiation will surely be hazardous—certainly pacemakers will be affected. Additionally, e-bombs could permanently destroy the civilian electrical and communications infrastructure, complicating reconstruction efforts after the war.

Mobile DEWs Another type of directed-energy weaponry might see its debut in Iraq, assisting U.S. and British troops engaged in treacherous urban warfare. Nonlethal weaponry has been in development for decades, but research was accelerated after rioting civilians killed and humiliated U.S. soldiers in Somalia in 1993.

The U.S. Marines have been testing an energy weapon dubbed nonlethal because it inflicts intense but brief and non-damaging pain on its targets. Mounted on a Humvee (slang for HMMWV, or High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle).

the Vehicle Mounted Active Denial System (V-MADS) produces 95-GHz millimeter waves that penetrate 0.4 mm into the skin. In response, the water molecules in the epidermis vibrate, boosting the skinbs surface temperature to 54 B:C in less than 3 seconds.

The sensation is described as like “briefly touching a hot light bulb.” When the human target moves out of the beam the sensation ceases as quickly as it appeared. Such a device would be used for crowd control in an urban conflict or setting. The range of devices being tested is about 750 meters.

U.S. Special Forces will also benefit from directed energy technology. All of the Air Force Special Operations Commandbs ACb130 gunships and MCb130 Combat Talon aircraft have been outfitted with laser-based, anti-missile Directed Infrared Countermeasures, which detect heat-seeking missiles and direct turreted laser beams to lead the threats astray.

Downsized drones for ground support Those now-famous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Predator and Global Hawk, will have some company in the skies over Iraq. The junior UAVs are smaller and cheaper than their multimillion-dollar predecessors, and so of greater use to smaller troop units on the ground.

The Shadow 2000 RQ-7, with a wingspan of 3.75 meters and a gasoline-powered rotary engine, flies at 3000 meters and can send video surveillance images to ground stationsbsay, a battalion contemplating a new field of actionb125 km away. Shadow is carried on and launched from special Humvees, and has been tested with a video surveillance capability that pinpoints the coordinates of a targets by comparing image data with stored terrain information. (The video system, relying on a process called geo-registration, was developed with support from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa).

Dragon Eye is an even smaller drone, that could be deployed by a single soldier. Powered by a lithium-ion battery and driven by a propeller-driven motor, it is light and has a wingspan of just 18 cm. It can be assembled by two men in 10 minutes, and is launched by a bungee-type slingshot.

Real-time video streams from Dragon Eye to a wearable ground station providing enemy and terrain surveillance from 150 meters to 5 kilometers away.

Assisted by GPS internal navigation, Dragon Eyebs pre-programmed flight can be altered in mid-flight by its operators. Its composite body means durability and lower weight. Off-the-shelf components offer easy replacement and lower costs. A major drawback to the small size, though, is susceptibility to wind currents that render surveillance videos jittery.

Biochemical bunker busters The U.S. military has developed several weapons to destroy caches of chemical and biological warfare agents. The kinetic, explosive charges might scatter toxic matter, causing the very mass destruction that Saddam Hussein stands accused of plotting. Instead of that, so-called Agent Defeat technology will likely be deployed should stockpiles of suspect agents be identified.

For example, U.S. troops might utilize a technology developed by the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (Fort Belvoir, Va.) that uses a high-temperature incendiary “thermo-corrosive” filling that destroys agents with a searing, low-pressure heat over an extended period of time.

Additionally, this filling produces a chlorine gas after-product, an extra measure of neutralization.

This technology is to be distinguished from thermobaric bombs, designed to produce enormous pressure shock waves to kill the enemy deep in tunnels, which were used in Afghanistan against cave-dwelling Taliban military. Thermobarics may also be used in certain situations in Iraq, if there are suitable targets well separated from civilian populations. Ground-penetrating nuclear weapons, though actively developed by the U.S. military and explicitly slated for possible U.S. use in a controversial policy statement leaked early last year, will not be used: besides outraging world opinion, they simply are not needed.