US government contractor developing ‘microwave gun,’ Hot Pockets tremble

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    Ah, the beloved “electronic bomb,” able to disable all technology in its vicinity: variations on the concept go way back, but useful prototypes remain tantalizingly out of reach. Into the breach steps defense contractor BAE Systems, taking a fresh crack with a High-Powered Microwave (HPM) gun intended to disable small boat engines – if successful, the technology may also target ships, UAVs, and missile payloads. The secret-shrouded weapon sounds similar to Boeing’s planned airborne EMP weapon, but lacking the missile delivery systems. BAE seems to be betting big on electromagnetic warfare as a future battlefield tactic, with a manager pitching the sci-fi scene to Aviation Week:
    “Unlike lasers, HPM beams don’t need a lot of accuracy. With a fan [of HPM energy] you can target 10-30 small boats. If you can knock out 50-75% of the engines in a swarm, you can then concentrate on the remainder with lasers or kinetic [cannons].”

    To develop better defenses against such attacks, the contractor received $150,000 from the Air Force to test-fire microwaves at military computers. No word on whether said defenses involve generous use of tin foil.

    US government contractor developing ‘microwave gun,’ Hot Pockets tremble originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 16 Apr 2011 16:09:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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