Friday, July 16, 2004

Homemade Microwave Weapons for Terrorists?

More and more sophisticated weapons are becoming available to terrorists.

The bulk of the device is designed to fit in a car boot and consists of a battery and a bank of capacitors that can store an electrical charge. Flicking a switch on the dashboard sends a burst of electricity into an antenna mounted on the roof of the car. The antenna then produces a narrow beam of intense radio waves that is directed at the vehicle ahead. When the radio waves hit the targeted car, they induce surges of electricity in its electronics, upsetting the fuel injection and engine firing signals. "It works on most cars built in the past 10 years, because their engines are controlled by computer chips," said Dr Giri. "If we can disrupt the computer, we can stop the car." A prototype is due to be ready by next summer

If they can disrupt a computer in a car they can disrupt a computer in an airplane, bank, government agency, or a NUCLEAR POWER STATION. 

How would you detect such a device? A sniffer dog wouldn't work and I suspect radiation detectors would not work either.

Here are the attriubtes and characteristics of directed energy weapons.

They don't rely on knowledge of the system.

They leave persistant and lasting effects on the system through destruction of circuits and components.

They can impact systems even when they are turned off.

To counter the weapon the entire system must be hardened.

Here are some attributes of a microwave weapons:

Entry to a system can be direct or indirect (through a variety of backdoor channels).

Destruction occurs from the inside out.

Extreme lethality for electronic components (and fuel systems).

Repair is extremely difficult -- it requires high level systems analysis.

Most systems are not hardened against microwave frequencies.

Area attacks are possible.

Insensitive to weather (rain, fog, etc.).

Long reach depending on power used.

Replenishment is easy (nothing except power is expended).

Scalable size (a weapon that weighs less than 10 lbs is possible).

Logistics are limited to battery/power source replacement.

Limited collateral damage.

You can bet terrorists are interested in such weapons.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't such a device be detrimental to a cell phone as well? Or garage door opener? Any wireless remote control for a roadside bomb? Can one be built and mounted in a vehicle that focusses the effect on a path the width of a road and shoulders and operates (pulses) continuously, and disables or pre-detonates this most dangerous class of IEDs?

Brain Bliss