After being depleted for decades, microwave weapons are starting to look like a serious military threat-prompting the Department of Defense to issue a request to clothe U.S. soldiers with detector for the so -called “a growing threat on the battlefield.
The weapons, some of which cause burns, are already considered for use on U.S. soil. In June, a federal police officer requested a truck size microwave heat ray to disperse the Black Lives Matter protests. The Trump administration is considering using the same device against asylum seekers in 2018.
Now, the Department of Defense wants U.S. soldiers equipped with microwave weapon detectors. Put that on a Dis. 9 requesting the contract for “a low-cost, low-weight, small-scale wearable radio frequency (RF) weapon exposure detector,” which specifies high-frequency microwaves, which come from Defense Health Program of the Defense Department.
The Defense Department’s interest in finding microwave weapons comes as Israel, China, and Russia reportedly invented their own versions of a microwave heat ray that “Active Denial System”That the U.S. pioneered two decades ago. US continues to improve technology: An Air Force Laboratory launches a “anti-swarm electromagnetic weapon, “Called THOR, to fry drones in mid-flight. A prototype of the Navy microwave weapon attached to a standard gun holder revealed in 2018. The need to disable drones has become even more real the autumn war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, where the former won host of drones removing the protections of the latter.
Then, in December, a new report suggested that these weapons could cause neurological injuries. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s criticized report suggested that weapons were the “most plausible” explanation for the confusing neurological injuries seen by at least 15 diplomatic personnel and their families in Cuba in 2016 and 2017.
“If there are no known patterns of [radiofrequency] damage to make the diagnosis difficult, difficult to differentiate [microwave] damage from other common sources of illness and injury such as heat stroke, ”said the defense agency’s microwave weapon detector program request, which will close in about two weeks. “The vague symptom is exacerbated by the transient nature of the RF energy. Without the sensor it is possible that no remaining evidence of RF attack is available.”
The Defense Department declined to comment on the detector contract. However, experts contacted by BuzzFeed News suggest that the growing military interest in microwave weapons may begin with the advent of drone-zapping weapons and the NASEM report. Technology, they added, is notorious as a new concern in the field of combat in the 21st century.
“I think, even if the United States never put weapons in the theater of war, there is a fear that other artists will do so,” Andrew Wood of the Australian Center for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research said via email. They can easily be found behind fabric screens, he added, so U.S. military personnel who experience burning sensations, for example, may need a detector to tell if someone else is pointing them out. microwave weapon.
Requesting the contract for an intuitive sensor that can be tucked into a rifle magazine pocket and can be clipped to a vest also raises concerns about accidental exposure to microwaves in workers in the military research area, according to environmental epidemiologist Marloes Eeftens of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. BuzzFeed news via email.
Despite the burning sensation a person can feel when they are on the beam of a weapon that is “like heat,” Eeftens warns that it’s hard to know if a concentrated microwave field is to blame. . “You come out unmarked, so it’s hard to know for sure if and what exactly one is being exposed to,” he said.
There are detectors for other types of radiofrequency waves than the microwaves described in requesting a contract with the Department of Defense, Paul Elliot of Magnetic Science Inc. in Acton, Massachusetts, told BuzzFeed News. It is usually intended for people who work with electronics.
“The things we sell are the size of bricks, or at least half a brick,” he said. “You don’t wear it.”
While microwaves, due to high temperatures, such as those found in the oven, can cook food and cause burns, the question is neurological health effects may result from less strong having for a long time without evidence and subjected to the differences of conspiracy theories seen today regarding 5G cellphones.
U.S. Air Force experiments set limits exposed to human microwave in the 1970s there were studies of electromagnetic pulses detected from nuclear explosions. Those standards have been widely adopted since, but a 2018 NATO technical report The limitations are called unreasonable in science, saying they are not supported by any experiments showing harm. A report by French researchers last year that the increased pulse rate of low intensity is strongly associated with cancer and behavioral changes in mice. also raises the question of health effects, especially systems like THOR now being considered for field use versus drones.
“I don’t expect major safety problems for people on beams, but on the other hand, much of the research on bioeffects from such a pulse is limited,” said bioengineer Ken Foster, in University of Pennsylvania, said. “If the military deploys these weapons, it’s good that they do a good safety study.”