America's air force is developing a range of them based on a type of radar called an active electronically scanned array (AESA). When acting as a normal radar, an AESA broadcasts its microwaves over a wide area. At the touch of a button, however, all of its energy can be focused onto a single point. If that point coincides with an incoming missile or aircraft, the target's electronics will be zapped. BAE Systems, a British defence firm, is building a ship-mounted electromagnetic gun. The High-Powered Microwave, as it is called, is reported by Aviation Week to be powerful enough to disable all of the motors in a swarm of up to 30 speedboats.Disabling communications and destroying missiles is one thing. Using heat-rays on the enemy might look bad in the newspapers, and put civilians off their breakfast.
To every action there is, of course, an equal and opposite reaction, and researchers are just as busy designing ways of foiling electromagnetic weapons as they are developing them.
PRK: I can't wait to buy that issue of MAKE!"
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