After being fired for decades, microwave weapons began to be seen as a serious military threat – prompting the Department of Defense to publish a request to clothe American soldiers with detectives for what it called “a growing threat on the battlefield ”.
The weapons, some of which cause burning sensations, have already been considered for use on US soil. In June, a federal police officer had called for a size truck microwave heat beam for dispersals and protests by Black Lives Matter. The Trump administration has considered using that same device against asylum seekers in 2018.
Now, the Department of Defense wants U.S. soldiers to be equipped with microwave gun detectors. It was presented on December 9th contract solicitation for “a low-cost, low-weight, RF portable low-frequency (RF) weapon exposure detector,” specifying high-frequency microwaves, which come from the Department of Defense’s Defense Health Program.
The Department of Defense’s interest in microwave weapon detection comes as a surprise Israel, China and Russia they invented their own versions of a microwave heat sink. ”Active Negation SystemThat the United States pioneered two decades ago. The United States continues to develop technology: An Air Force Research Laboratory executes a “an electromagnetic weapon against the swarm“Called THOR, to fry drones in mid-flight. A prototype of the Navy microwave weapon mounted on a standard pistol holder was unveiled in 2018. The need to disable drones has become more real with the autumn war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which first won drone fleets decimation and defense of the latter.
Then, in December, a new report suggested that these weapons could cause neurological injuries. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine criticized report suggested the weapons were the “most plausible” explanation for the dangerous neurological injuries seen in at least 15 diplomatic personnel and their families in Cuba in 2016 and 2017.
“Without known models of [radiofrequency] bias to guide the diagnosis, will be difficult to distinguish [microwave] damage from other common sources of illness and injury such as heat stroke, ”says the defense agency’s microwave weapons detector program application, which closes in about two weeks. “This ambiguous symptom is exacerbated by the transient nature of RF energy. Without a sensor, it is possible that no residual RF attack evidence is available. ”
The Department of Defense declined to comment on the detector’s contract. However, experts contacted by BuzzFeed News have suggested that growing military interest in microwave weapons could stem from the advent of drone zapping weapons and the NASEM report. Technology, they added, is noteworthy as a new battlefield concern in the 21st century.
“I guess even if the United States has never put these weapons to the test in a war theater, there is a fear that other actors will do it,” Andrew Wood said by e-mail from the Australian Center for Research Electromagnetic Bioeffects. They could easily be hidden behind cloth screens, he added, so U.S. military personnel experiencing burning sensations, for example, might need a detector to know if someone else is pointing a microwave gun at them.
The contract’s request for a wearable sensor that can be inserted into a rifle magazine bag and can be cut to a vest also indicates concerns about accidental exposure to microwaves by test site workers. military, said environmental epidemiologist Marloes Eeftens of the Swiss Institute of Tropical and Public Health. BuzzFeed news by email.
Despite the burning sensation that could be felt when standing in the arms of a weapon “like a ray of heat,” Eeftens warned that it would be difficult to determine if a concentrated microwave field was to blame. “It will come out unbranded, so it’s hard to determine objectively if and how much someone was really exposed to,” he said.
There are detectors for other types of radio frequency waves than the microwaves described in the Department of Defense’s contract request, Paul Elliot of Magnetic Sciences Inc. in Acton, Massachusetts, he told BuzzFeed News. They are usually intended 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. “I wouldn’t wear one.”
While microwaves that induce high temperatures, such as those found in ovens, can cook food and cause burns, the question of whether neurological health effects may result from the less powerful ones it has long lacked evidence and has been subjected to the types of conspiracy theories seen today on 5G mobile phones.
U.S. Air Force experiments set limits exposure to human microwave in the 1970s during studies of electromagnetic pulses seen from nuclear explosions. Those standards have been widely adopted since then, but a NATO 2018 Technical Report he called those limits scientifically unjustified, saying they were not supported by any experiments that showed injuries. A report by French researchers last year that low-power pulsed microwaves have been associated with cancer and behavioral changes in mice. it has once again raised the question of health effects, especially with systems like THOR now contemplated for field use against drones.
“I don’t expect major safety concerns for people in the woods, but on the other hand, the amount of research on the bioeffects of such impulses is limited,” said bioengineer Ken Foster, of the University of Pennsylvania. “If the military is going to launch these weapons, they are much better off doing good security studies.”