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#3864 - 10/10/05 01:01 PM energy weapons

I'd like to know what types of energy weapons exist and/or are feasible and what their limitations are?

Specifically I'm interested in a weapon that could do minimum damage to the skin ( this means no burns. maybe just a few little things like changes in pigmentation ) while causing damage to the tissue underneath.

#3865 - 10/10/05 03:05 PM Re: energy weapons
Uncle Al Offline

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 540
Loc: Southern California
The Thing (From Another World), 1951. James Arness' carrot being fried. (From Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell)

Get a gun. Load with hollow point semijacketed rounds. Small entry hole, big stuff inside.
Uncle Al
(Toxic URL! Unsafe for children and most mammals)

#3866 - 10/10/05 08:41 PM Re: energy weapons
TheFallibleFiend Offline

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
I've been informed by people who know these things first hand, that during Iraq I, US troops often referred to the soviet-made T-72s as "pop tops." The sabot rounds (depleted uranium) from the US tanks would pass through the sovient model, superheating the insides and causing an explosion that would literally pop the turret off the hull.

In one particular incident called the battle of 73 easting, three US companies got a little disoriented during a sandstorm and found themselves far behind enemy lines - in fact they were in the midst of an entire brigade. Fortunatley for the americans, after they shot their first few rounds, the Iraqis (recall this was during a sandstorm) thought they were under aerial attack. They got out of their tanks and went into foxholes. The iraqi tanks were "hidden" behind sand berms, but our vehicles were equipt with thermal sights. Relatively few (possible no) iraqis were killed, but most of their vehicles were destroyed.

In any case, the sabot rounds went through the berms, through one side of the hull and out the other. (At least that's what I've heard.)

#3867 - 10/12/05 03:26 AM Re: energy weapons
DietAnthrax Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 11
An acoustic wave of the right frequency and power could shatter bones without damaging the skin.

Obviously, this would be very impractical to use as a weapon.

#3868 - 10/13/05 04:34 PM Re: energy weapons
Yet Another Crank Offline

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 65
Loc: My secret island lair
I'm guessing you mean "directed energy" weapons, which are something you'd aim at a specific target, rather than just generic "energy" weapons like bombs, nuclear devices, and EMPs.

A directed-energy weapon, as the name implies, directs energy in a particular direction by a means other than a projectile. Put another way, it transfers energy to a target for a desired effect.

Various types of these weapons exist or are in the works. They fall into two broad categories: Electromagnetic radiation (light, microwaves, etc.) and Mass weapons (particle beams, etc.).

Visible light can be used as a directed-energy weapon. Bright searchlights can be used to blind, strobing pulses of light can be used to induce extreme vertigo, for example. Heck, a good mirror array on a sunny day would be an excellent directed-energy weapon.

Laser weapons do exist in real life, such as the Tactical High Energy Laser and the airborne laser system, which are used to shoot down airplanes and missiles.

Lasers can be used to blind, of course. They also have great potential as weapons, as they can deliver enormous amounts of destructive energy to a precise location. The difficulty at present is the fact that weapons-grade lasers generate so much energy that they need to be constructed carefully enough that they don't destroy their own innards first. It's definitely doable, though.

It's also tough to transmit a weapons-grade laser through the air without turning the surrounding air into a plasma in the process. Super-short bursts of energy minimize this problem, as does focusing several smaller beams of energy that won't burn the air onto the same point. But those aren't always practical solutions.

This can be turned into an advantage, however. Some weapons systems currently in development use a laser to burn a plasma path to the target through the air. Then a powerful electric charge is sent down that plasma path, like a bolt of lightning. Imagine a Taser on steroids.

Another problem with lasers is that they burn off the surface of the target first (obviously). This tends to create a cloud of ash that blocks the laser from continuing to get through. This limits their effectiveness for certain kinds of targets.

The biggest problem with lasers is that, to deliver a weapons-grade burst of energy, you need to supply all that energy. We're talking megajoules per burst here. It's doable though, especially with sufficient electrical supply. Which is great because it's easier to transport than tons of solid ammunition and explosives.

Microwave lasers are great, because they destroy electronics, and can be used to cook the target. Just like a microwave oven, just targeted. These are also useful for crowd control and non-lethal enemy incapacitation, by raising skin temperature to unbearable horrible screaming temperatures without causing internal damage.

Particle weapons are also very cool:

Electrons leap to mind first, of course, as we're all used to electricity. The directed lightning along a laser-induced plasma channel was mentioned above. And electrical discharges can be sent short distances with great effect. But to get any long-distance discharge without a plasma channel, you need to operate the weapon in the relative vacuum of outer space. Where it's hard to focus.

What about this plasma we keep mentioning? It's essentially a bunch of supercharged particles. Could be very useful. In fact, we do use plasma torches for cutting metal -- essentially a high-voltage arc creates a plasma from the air, which is then blasted out at high speed. These are self-focusing, forming a cone of cutting plasma. At present, these can be used to cut through about 30 cm of steel in one go, but it's conceivable that this technology can evolve to the point where directed bursts of plasma are propelled over larger distances. Not expensive, and not all that heavy either.

There's tons more information on this stuff all over the internet, I'm sure.
Bwa ha ha haaaa!!

#3869 - 10/17/05 07:28 AM Re: energy weapons
Scrapin Pegs Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 9
Loc: Passing you on the inside... v...
Great. I now feel a combination of "cool, real life ray guns" and "oh ****, real life ray guns."
Freedom of speech makes it easier to spot the idiots.

#3870 - 10/18/05 06:34 PM Re: energy weapons
Yet Another Crank Offline

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 65
Loc: My secret island lair
See this article in today's New York Times, Science section:

"Recreating an Ancient Death Ray"

Did Archimedes really produce a death ray 2,200 years ago? According to Greek and Roman historians, he set Roman warships afire with a polished mirror that focused the sun?s rays from afar during the siege of Syracuse. ...
Bwa ha ha haaaa!!

#3871 - 10/18/05 10:00 PM Re: energy weapons
Xennos Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 15
Loc: Your Mind
Originally posted by Scrapin Pegs:
Great. I now feel a combination of "cool, real life ray guns" and "oh ****, real life ray guns."
haha i was thinking the same thing, could you imagine being cooked while your in a battle only to wake up in hospital fine (minus the skin)

its scarey to think people think up this kind of stuff but it does appeal to the luke in all of us . .

#3872 - 10/20/05 08:01 PM Re: energy weapons
Yet Another Crank Offline

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 65
Loc: My secret island lair
Military Mulls Use of 'Star Trek' Weapons
By Brian Bergstein
Associated Press
posted: 13 July 2005
05:43 pm ET

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) -- For years, the U.S. military has explored a new kind of firepower that is instantaneous, precise and virtually inexhaustible: beams of electromagnetic energy. "Directed-energy'' pulses can be throttled up or down depending on the situation, much like the phasers on "Star Trek'' could be set to kill or merely stun.

Such weapons are now nearing fruition. But logistical issues have delayed their battlefield debut -- even as soldiers in Iraq encounter tense urban situations in which the nonlethal capabilities of directed energy could be put to the test.

"It's a great technology with enormous potential, but I think the environment's not strong for it,'' said James Jay Carafano, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation who blames the military and Congress for not spending enough on getting directed energy to the front. "The tragedy is that I think it's exactly the right time for this.''

The hallmark of all directed-energy weapons is that the target -- whether a human or a mechanical object -- has no chance to avoid the shot because it moves at the speed of light. At some frequencies, it can penetrate walls.

Since the ammunition is merely light or radio waves, directed-energy weapons are limited only by the supply of electricity. And they don't involve chemicals or projectiles that can be inaccurate, accidentally cause injury or violate international treaties.

"When you're dealing with people whose full intent is to die, you can't give people a choice of whether to comply,'' said George Gibbs, a systems engineer for the Marine Expeditionary Rifle Squad Program who oversees directed-energy projects. "What I'm looking for is a way to shoot everybody, and they're all OK.''

Almost as diverse as the electromagnetic spectrum itself, directed-energy weapons span a wide range of incarnations.

Among the simplest forms are inexpensive, handheld lasers that fill people's field of vision, inducing a temporary blindness to ensure they stop at a checkpoint, for example. Some of these already are used in Iraq.

Other radio-frequency weapons in development can sabotage the electronics of land mines, shoulder-fired missiles or automobiles -- a prospect that interests police departments in addition to the military.

A separate branch of directed-energy research involves bigger, badder beams: lasers that could obliterate targets tens of miles away from ships or planes. Such a strike would be so surgical that, as some designers put it at a recent conference here, the military could plausibly deny responsibility.

The flexibility of directed-energy weapons could be vital as wide-scale, force-on-force conflict becomes increasingly rare, many experts say. But the technology has been slowed by such practical concerns as how to shrink beam-firing antennas and power supplies.

Military officials also say more needs to be done to assure the international community that directed-energy weapons set to stun rather than kill will not harm noncombatants.

Such issues recently led the Pentagon to delay its Project Sheriff, a plan to outfit vehicles in Iraq with a combination of lethal and nonlethal weaponry -- including a highly touted microwave-energy blaster that makes targets feel as if their skin is on fire. Sheriff has been pushed at least to 2006.

"It was best to step back and make sure we understand where we can go with it,'' said David Law, science and technology chief for the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate.

The directed-energy component in the project is the Active Denial System, developed by Air Force researchers and built by Raytheon Co. It produces a millimeter-wavelength burst of energy that penetrates 1/64 of an inch into a person's skin, agitating water molecules to produce heat. The sensation is certain to get people to halt whatever they are doing.

Military investigators say decades of research have shown that the effect ends the moment a person is out of the beam, and no lasting damage is done as long as the stream does not exceed a certain duration. How long? That answer is classified, but it apparently is in the realm of seconds, not minutes. The range of the beam also is secret, though it is said to be further than small arms fire, so an attacker could be repelled before he could pull a trigger.

Although Active Denial works -- after a $51 million, 11-year investment -- it has proven to be a "model for how hard it is to field a directed-energy nonlethal weapon,'' Law said.

For example, the prototype system can be mounted on a Humvee but the vehicle has to stop in order to fire the beam. Using the vehicle's electrical power "is pushing its limits,'' he added.

Still, Raytheon is pressing ahead with smaller, portable, shorter-range spinoffs of Active Denial for embassies, ships or other sensitive spots.

One potential customer is the Department of Energy. Researchers at its Sandia National Laboratories are testing Active Denial as a way to repel intruders from nuclear facilities. But Sandia researchers say the beams won't be in place until 2008 at the earliest because so much testing remains.

In the meantime, Raytheon is trying to drum up business for an automated airport-defense project known as Vigilant Eagle that detects shoulder-fired missiles and fries their electronics with an electromagnetic wave. The system, which would cost $25 million per airport, has proven effective against a "real threat,'' said Michael Booen, a former Air Force colonel who heads Raytheon's directed-energy work. He refused to elaborate.

For Peter Bitar, the future of directed energy boils down to money.

Bitar heads Indiana-based Xtreme Alternative Defense Systems Ltd., which makes small blinding lasers used in Iraq. But his real project is a nonlethal energy device called the StunStrike.

Basically, it fires a bolt of lightning. It can be tuned to blow up explosives, possibly to stop vehicles and certainly to buzz people. The strike can be made to feel as gentle as "broom bristles'' or cranked up to deliver a paralyzing jolt that "takes a few minutes to wear off.''

Bitar, who is of Arab descent, believes StunStrike would be particularly intimidating in the Middle East because, he contends, people there are especially afraid of lightning.

At present, StunStrike is a 20-foot tower that can zap things up to 28 feet away. The next step is to shrink it so it could be wielded by troops and used in civilian locales like airplane cabins or building entrances.

Xtreme ADS also needs more tests to establish that StunStrike is safe to use on people.

But all that takes money -- more than the $700,000 Bitar got from the Pentagon from 2003 until the contract recently ended.

Bitar is optimistic StunStrike will be perfected, either with revenue from the laser pointers or a partnership with a bigger defense contractor. In the meantime, though, he wishes soldiers in Iraq already had his lightning device on difficult missions like door-to-door searches.

"It's very frustrating when you know you've got a solution that's being ignored,'' he said. "The technology is the easy part.''
Bwa ha ha haaaa!!

#3873 - 10/25/05 01:41 AM Re: energy weapons
erich knight Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Virginia
Technology Review of Electron Power Systems (by an independent consulting
group) for Office Of The Secretary Of Defense July 2004

Technology Title: Electron spiral toroids (EST) as kinetic-energy weapons

Development Organization: Electron Power Systems, Inc., Acton, Mass.

Description: EPS teamed with MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center under an
STTR grant to develop a theoretical framework and laboratory methods for
reliably creating small (0.5-1.0 cm diameter) self-organized plasmas, called
"electron spiral toroids" (ESTs) or "spiral plasma toroids" (SPTs). EST
electrons travel in parallel orbits around a torus in densities sufficient
to create a stable, self-sustaining internal magnetic field. These novel
laboratory-level plasmas, whose physics resembles that of ball lightning,
are unusual in that they remain stable in partial atmospheres without
requiring external magnetic fields for their containment, yet can also be
accelerated in a directed fashion to potentially very high velocities (e.g.,
600 km/sec) and kinetic energies. Parallel work on formation and magnetic
acceleration of "compact toroids" is also underway at DoE's Livermore lab
and at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Kirtland AFB, NM, although
these plasmas - which can only exist in vacuum - require large (multi-meter
long) machinery that uses magnetic field pressures associated with "Tokamak"
fusion reactors to create large-diameter (0.5-1.0 meter) plasmas, which must
then be greatly reduced in diameter and volume to be useful. By contrast,
EPS uses much smaller, cheaper hardware to repeatably generate
high-ion-density plasmas that have remained stable in air for up to 0.6
seconds at 1-Torr atmospheric pressures. The EPS/MIT work has drawn interest
from MDA and DTRA for DEW/KEW applications and from Delphi Corporation, a
major automotive electronics firm, which envisions an automotive mini-fusion
reactor that would collide two small toroids generated by 1-meter-long
"neutron tubes" and capture the heat from their collision.

Potential Operational Payoff: used as KEWs, even a tiny (microscopic-scale)
EST would generate enough kinetic energy to destroy any military vehicle or
projectile operating in the atmosphere, including solid-rod anti-armor
penetrators. These charge-neutral plasmas would be produced in large numbers
in rapid succession to form a steerable beam. Impact velocities of 600
km/sec, possibly several times higher, may be possible, based on MIT's
extrapolation of AFRL's compact-toroid acceleration experiments for vacuum.

- Effects: target destruction by kinetic impacts far above hyper velocities
(defined by the speed of sound in metal and nonmetal targets)
- Speed: up to 600 km/sec (MIT estimate), possibly up to 2000 km/sec (EPS
- Range: endoatmospheric line-of-sight up to space/atmosphere boundary
(officially defined as 62 miles)
- Power requirements: EPS proposes using EST mini-fusion reactors, whose
initial power could be provided by a car battery, to produce and accelerate
its ESTs.

Cost: no cost data available. The complexity of reliable mini-toroid
formation and acceleration with compact, relatively low-cost equipment
remains to be determined. Yet the fact that the EPS/MIT STTR work this
technology has attracted interest from Delphi is very significant, as the
automotive electronics industry is considered to be extremely demanding of
functionality per dollar and pound (e.g., mil-spec performance at
Wal-Mart-class 'commodity' prices).

Estimated Development Funding, FY 2005-2011 (combined KEW, mini-reactor)
- appr. $2M so far (Army Research Office, NASA SBIR, NASA-IAC (Institute for
Advanced Concepts) grant, BMDO STTR for $1M). EPS estimate: over FY
2005-2009, would need $0.5-$1.0M/yr (not including funding for MIT support),
but with a Phase 1 and 2 SBIR, could achieve a lab demonstration (TRL 4-5)
within 2.5-3 years of a proof-of-principle device that hits targets with
visible kinetic damage. Industrial co-funding from strategic partners
(agreements with Raytheon, Delphi (formerly GM Delco) and Titan Pulse Power)
could accelerate this.
-MIT estimate: with adequate staff and facilities funding ("at least
$2-$5M/year"), could demonstrate basic physics within 2 years, followed by
development of an integratable engineering package.

TRL 3-4. MIT considers these plasmas a revolutionary breakthrough, with
Delphi's chief scientist and senior manager for advanced technology both
agreeing that EST/SPT physics are repeatable and theoretically explainable.
MIT and EPS have jointly authored numerous professional papers describing
their work.

Revolutionary Impact: High - reliable generation and acceleration of these
plasmas using compact mobile machinery could provide US forces with a unique
generic defense against ballistic and cruise missiles, manned and unmanned
aircraft, and kinetic-energy projectiles of all sizes, velocities and
Erich J. Knight

#3874 - 10/31/05 06:25 PM Re: energy weapons
Yet Another Crank Offline

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 65
Loc: My secret island lair
And don't forget defensive potential.

Right now, the forefront is in passive detection technology. But look for energy defenses (rather than weapons) in the not-too-distant future.

With respect to such detection, check this out:

Military Testing Infrared Gunfire Detector

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A sniper fires on American troops in Iraq. In the milliseconds before the bullet hits - in fact, before the shot is even heard - a computer screen reveals the gun's model and exact location. That's the kind of intelligence that can save soldiers' lives. The Army is currently testing the technology in combat.

The devices are made by Radiance Technologies, a small Alabama company, and differ in their approach to gunfire detection from systems already deployed in Iraq that rely on acoustics.

Radiance's invention, WeaponWatch, is powered by infrared sensors that detect missiles or gunfire at the speed of light.

"Obviously when the first shot is fired, you can't do anything about it," said George Clark, president of the company founded in 1999. "But what it does do is it allows you to not have a second fired."

WeaponWatch is a major reason that Radiance, which had only three employees six years ago, now has 275. Over that period, it's been one of the 500 fastest-growing small businesses in the United States.

Nobody seems to dispute that WeaponWatch is the fastest such system on the market, but the challenge for company executives was persuading the Pentagon that those few extra nanoseconds provide any practical advantage over the existing sonar versions, which have a wider field of vision.

After all, human reflexes are far more sluggish than either light or sound.

Cambridge, Mass.-based BBN Technologies makes one of the leading acoustic devices. Its system detects enemy gunfire with an array of microphones and is known as Boomerang. Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, it was deployed in Iraq last year.

More than 100 of its units have been built, though the company is unsure how many are being used by soldiers.

Stephen Milligan, BBN's technology director, says a likely advantage of sonar is that it produces fewer false alarms than infrared.

"There are many ways to create an infrared flash," Milligan said. "I would guess it is ultimately possible to spook it."

But Charles Kimzey, who manages the Pentagon's research program that includes weapon detection systems, says that while both acoustic and infrared each have their advantages, early tests indicate Radiance's device is superior.

"The feedback we've gotten has been quite favorable," Kimzey said.

For security reasons, Pentagon officials refuse to disclose which U.S. military units have used WeaponWatch and where.

Walt Smith, a technology director at Radiance who traveled with the system to Iraq during its March 2004 launch, said soldiers like it because of its precision.

"A person who has a rugged tablet personal computer can see an image," Smith said. "Someone on the second floor, third window from the right, shot from that location."

The system was tested on top of a building where there was a high concentration of insurgent gunfire. Within a few days, American troops were able to use WeaponWatch to return fire more rapidly, Smith said, resulting in a noticeable drop in enemy attacks.

And that was the old 400-pound version - clunky, cumbersome and highly susceptible to damage from high temperatures and the sand kicked up by desert winds. The newest version is less than 30 pounds and about the size of a lunch box. It can be stationary or placed on Humvees, tanks, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.

"It has limitations like all technology," Smith said. "There's no perfect, silver bullet. But it's very effective in certain circumstances in an urban environment. In a desert environment it can be extremely effective."

WeaponWatch picks up on the infrared signature of every weapon the moment it is fired, instantly identifying it from a database of thousands of weapons muzzle flashes.

Kimzey said that because the technology has become so mobile and keeps getting smaller, there's virtually no end to the possibilities.

For example, the Marines recently tested a program that links the infrared detector to an automatic weapon. It would allow the combatant wielding that weapon to get a shot off almost immediately after the enemy fired.

Kimzey said such an invention could be problematic because military rules of engagement require that a human being, and not a machine make firing decisions in the field of combat.

The federal government has invested nearly $15 million over five years in developing the infrared technology. Besides the four test models being used in Iraq, another 20 have been ordered.

Kimzey said it's unclear how much the Pentagon will spend on the program when it moves from research to deployment, but he said it's definitely an investment the Defense Department plans to make.

"As the sensor develops its capability and becomes convincing, folks are knowing about it and they're asking for it," Kimzey said.


On the Net:

Radiance Technologies: http://www.radiancetech.com

BBN Technologies: http://www.bbn.com
Bwa ha ha haaaa!!

#3875 - 10/31/05 09:34 PM Re: energy weapons
soilguy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/28/05
Posts: 414
Loc: North Carolina
So given my Second Amendment right to bear arms, I could have one of these babies myself, right? ;-)
When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
--S. Lewis


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