High Powered Microwaves: The Non-Lethal Future of Warfare

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September 10, 2016 | Originally published by Date Line: September 10 on

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 [Laser DEWs are based on high-energy lasers, which are a coherent beam of photons or massless particles of energy. They are not what are commonly referred to as plasma weapons, which work on the principle of firing a stream, pulse or toroid of plasma, which is a very hot excited state of matter.] 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.