After being fired for decades, microwave weapons are beginning to be seen as a serious military threat, prompting the Department of Defense to make a request to equip U.S. soldiers with detectors of what it called ” a growing threat on the battlefield ”.
The weapons, some of which cause burning sensations, have already been considered for use on American soil. In June, a federal police officer had requested a truck size microwave heat jet to disperse the Black Lives Matter protests. The Trump administration considered using this same device against asylum seekers in 2018.
Now, the Department of Defense wants U.S. soldiers to be equipped with microwave gun detectors. This was set for December 9th contract application for “a low-cost, lightweight, and small-sized portable radio frequency (RF) weapons exposure detector,” which specifies high-frequency microwaves, that came from the Department of Defense’s Defense Health Program.
The Department of Defense’s interest in detecting microwave weapons appears Israel, China and Russia according to reports, they are inventing their own versions of a microwave heat jet “Active denial system”That the US pioneered two decades ago. The United States continues to develop technology: an air force research laboratory launches a “anti-swarm electromagnetic weapon“THOR said, to fry drones halfway. A prototype of the Navy’s microwave weapons mounted on a standard pistol holder was unveiled in 2018. The need to deactivate drones became more real the autumn war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, with which he won the first drone fleets decimating the defenses of the latter.
In December, a new report suggested that these weapons could cause neurological damage. The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine criticized report suggested weapons were the “most plausible” explanation for baffling neurological injuries seen in at least 15 diplomatic officials and their families in Cuba in 2016 and 2017.
“No known patterns of [radiofrequency] injury to guide the diagnosis, it will be difficult to differentiate it [microwave] injuries from other common sources of illness and injuries such as heat stroke, “says the defense agency’s microwave gun detector program request, which closes in about two weeks. “This ambiguous symptomatology is exacerbated by the transient nature of RF energy. Without a sensor, there may be no residual evidence of RF attack.”
The Department of Defense declined to comment on the detector’s contract. However, experts contacted by BuzzFeed News suggested that the expanding military interest in microwave weapons could stem from the advent of anti-drone weapons and the NASEM report. Technology, they added, is notable as a new concern on the battlefield in the 21st century.
“I guess while the United States has never deployed these weapons in a war theater, there is fear that other actors will do so,” Andrew Wood of the Australian Center for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research said in an email. They can be easily hidden behind fabric screens, he added, so U.S. military personnel experiencing burn sensations, for example, may need a detector to find out if someone else is pointing a microwave gun at them.
Demand for the contract of a portable sensor that can fit in a rifle screw bag and can be cut to a vest also points to concerns about accidental exposure to microwaves by workers at military test sites, he said. reported environmental epidemiologist Marloes Eeftens of the Swiss Institute of Tropical and Public Health. BuzzFeed news by email.
Despite the burning sensation that can be felt when it is in the beam of a “heat jet” type weapon, Eeftens warned that it would be difficult to determine if a concentrated microwave field was to blame. “You’ll come out unmarked, so it’s hard to objectively determine if and to whom you were actually exposed,” he said.
There are detectors of other types of radio frequency waves other than the microwaves described in the Department of Defense’s contract application, Paul Elliot of Magnetic Sciences Inc. told BuzzFeed News. in Acton, Massachusetts. They are usually designed for people who work with electronics.
“The things we sell are the size of bricks, or at least half the size of a brick,” he said. “You wouldn’t wear any.”
Although microwaves that cause high temperatures, such as those in ovens, can cook food and cause burns, the question of whether it is neurological health effects it may result in others less potent he had no evidence for a long time and has been subjected to the types of Conspiracy theories seen today on 5G mobile phones.
U.S. Air Force experiments set limits human exposure to microwaves in the 1970s during studies of electromagnetic pulses seen from nuclear explosions. These standards have been widely adopted since then, but in NATO Technical Report 2018 he defined these limits as scientifically unjustified, saying they were not supported by any experiments showing injuries. A report by French researchers last year that low-power pulsed microwaves were associated with cancer and behavioral changes in rats he raised the question of health effects again, especially with systems such as THOR now contemplated for drone field use.
“I don’t expect major safety issues for people on the beams, but on the other hand, the amount of research on bioeffects from these impulses is limited,” said bioengineer Ken Foster of the University of Pennsylvania. “If the military launches these weapons, they better do good security studies.”