A significant advancement in cost-effective point-defense solutions against low-cost flying threats, such as kamikaze drones, has been made possible by Raytheon’s CHIMERA microwave weapon, which has successfully shown its ability to track and neutralize targets at proper ranges.
According to Defense One, the empirical microwave weapon was able to track and maintain a high-powered beam on various dynamic and flying targets, which is significant progress toward the development of point-defense weapons that can harm or destroy an incoming missile or its electronics.
For US defenses, the successful development of directed energy weapons ( DEWs ) may result in significant cost savings. The US Navy has been using Standard Missile-2s worth several million dollars to destroy Iranian-supplied robots that can charge as little as US$ 2,000 per unit.
To address the current limitations of high-powered micro weaponry used in the US military, Raytheon will offer two new models this year and another in 2026, according to Defense One. The CHIMERA perhaps be efficient against Iran’s Shahed- 136 drones, the report information in particular.
As the US and its allies are engaged in a possible unsustainable form of warfare, recent attacks on US boats and soldiers in the Red Sea and Syria have demonstrated the urgent need for DEWs, including light and radio arms.
Asia Times has noted that the widespread adoption of light munitions aboard US warships has been hampered by factors like scientific advancement, a lack of appropriate marine platforms for such weaponry, and numerous issues in the DEW business center.
In addition, according to Asia Times, existing gun and missile-based defense systems have relatively small shoot-down rates compared to gun-powered systems, expensive interceptors that are difficult to replace with missiles, and a supply chain reliant on China for missile energies.
In terms of function, physical properties, testing, and lethality, lasers and high-power microwave ( HPM) weapons are compared in a report from the US Government Accountability Office ( GAO ) from April 2023.
According to the GAP report, lasers affect real components by cutting through control surfaces or blinding optical sensors, engaging targets separately.
In contrast, the report notes that HPM weapons use electricity to engage goals over a large area while penetrating good objects and carrying electrical tides, such as circuit board.
According to the report, lasers have kilowatt-per-pound power and are typically infrared and visible light, whereas HPMs are gigahertz and 10, 000 days more.
According to the GAO report, lasers are vulnerable to economic factors, which makes testing in an operating environment under a variety of circumstances more important.
It also claims that HPM weapons tests have produced more horizontal results. According to the report, it is still unclear whether the findings of little lab tests can be replicated in an administrative setting at higher power levels.
According to the report, the mortality of light weapons is influenced by the amount of energy that is directed at the target, which in turn affects how long the laser is focused there. On the other hand, it claims that the consistency used, the rate of microwave pulses, and the maximum power output of HPM weapons all affect their lethality.
Particularly in terms of flexibility and technological advancement, HPM arms have unique advantages and disadvantages.
High-powered microwaves ( HPM) can have a variety of effects, from jamming electronics to physically destroying electronic systems, according to Kevin Cogley in an article published in January 2022 for the US Naval Sea Systems Command. According to Cogley, HPM weapons are exceptional in that they do n’t cause the target any visible damage during an engagement.
Additionally, unlike lasers, HPM weapons can affect many targets due to their larger frame size, according to a US GAO report from May 2023.
Additionally, John Tatum notes in a 2014 article for the US Defense Systems Information Analysis Center ( DSIAC ) that the development of electric ships, vehicles, and aircraft that can supply the required power supply helps microwave weapons scalability, which reduces collateral damage and promises negligible cost per shot.
According to Asia Times, the US DDG ( X ) destroyer may not have the ideal naval platform for DEWs until it enters service because the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers have already used up all of their upgrade potential. However, maintaining the Ticonderoga-class ships has become extremely expensive and out of date.
At the same time, HPM arms have a lot of shortcomings. In their book Infections, Hardware, and Software Trojans Attacks and Countermeasures for 2020, Analy Belous and Vitali Saladukha draw attention to the fact that HPM frame weapons are ineffective, suffer significant air losses, or have a limited variety within the atmosphere’s ground levels.
Belous and Saladukha point out that these drawbacks, in turn, place heavy limitations on the creation of ground-based devices. At the same time, they claim that HPM arms are restricted in their use in space-based platforms due to their large size and high energy use.
Despite these drawbacks, scientific advancements may eventually make it possible to field HPM arms that are both affordable and practical.
The US High-Powered Joint Electromagnetic Non-Kinetic Strike ( HIJENKS), a stealth cruise missile with an HPM warhead, was developed thanks to advancements in miniaturization for components in harsh environments, according to an Asia Times report from July 2022.
The goal of the HIJENKS was to create a weapon that could defeat deeply buried targets that conventional explosives could not, as well as one that would be cost-effective and eradicate digital targets.
For a weapon has the ability to produce an HPM pulse that can burn out delicate electronics and pass through metal-protecting underwater command centers. But, it might not be successful against low-tech, nuclear-armed foes like North Korea.
Older Russian artillery, which would be undetectable by an HPM fire, is the main source of support for North Korea. It keeps its nuclear arsenal in underwater locations that are resistant to HPM attacks, making it unlikely that a nuclear weapon could be shot down while it is in flight.