- MOSCOW -- A group of Russian
scientists from Tomsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow have developed
a series of unique compact generators capable of producing high-energy
pulses of hundreds and even thousands of megawatts.
- This compares with the capacity of a major Soviet hydropower
station on the Dnieper or an energy unit at a modern nuclear power plant.
The new generators are sources of electromagnetic radiation rather than
electricity. Their main feature is a capacity to produce enormous power
in a matter of nanoseconds. The impulses can be generated with a very high
- Vice President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS)
Gennady Mesyats recalled that the first high-current electron accelerators
were developed in the U.S.S.R. in the 1960s. Ten years later, Soviet scientists
learnt to generate powerful microwave nanosecond pulses. The current generators
have no counterparts in the world. In effect, Russian scientists have made
a breakthrough in what is called relativist high-precision electronics.
- The pulse is primarily of interest for fundamental research.
Reporting these results to the RAS Presidium at the beginning of this year,
scientists emphasized that sources with super radiation effects can be
broadly used in long-range high-resolution impulse-based radiolocation
and in studies of non-thermal impact of powerful electromagnetic fields
on radio electronic components and different biological species.
- Super-powerful pulse generators can test the reliability
of radio electronic devices and the immunity of energy facilities to different
impacts. They can imitate the interference caused by a lightning and even
by a nuclear blast. Their tiny size and unique physical properties make
their sphere of application extremely wide.
- The electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a product of a nuclear
explosion. It puts out of action even those electronic control systems
that have withstood the shockwave and reduces expensive smart weapons to
scrap metal. There are different ways of generating electromagnetic pulses
- for example, it can be produced by explosion-induced pressure on a magnetic
- Physicist Andrei Sakharov was the first to propose using
this principle in a bomb in the 1950s. Today, records in the size of an
induced magnetic field, maximum current and properties of such "radiators"
belong to Russian scientists. They surpass foreign counterparts by 10 times.
Depending on what facilities the EMP is directed at, the damage radius
can be from several hundred meters to kilometers. Without creating a shock
wave and inflicting visible damage, it destroys all enemy electronic equipment.
Moreover, unlike electronic countermeasures, electromagnetic weapons are
capable of damaging radio electronic components even if they are switched
- At present, the infrastructure and troops of many countries
are stuffed with electronic equipment. It will be the main target for electromagnetic
weapons. The destructive effect is produced by the high acceleration of
the magnetic and electrical components of the EMP. They induce voltage
changes ranging from 100 volts to 10,000 volts in circuit networks and
terminals of radio electronic equipment. The ensuing massive sparking of
cable jackets, their contact to frame and the ground, and breakdowns in
connectors put the equipment out of action and lead to fires and explosions.
To understand this effect better, it is enough to imagine what will happen
to your TV-set if there is a power surge - it will simply melt.
- The Americans were the first to use such weapons in combat,
for instance in Yugoslavia. Some analysts believe that electromagnetic
bombs would have given the United States a vital advantage in the early
stages of the war in Iraq. They could have disabled not only Baghdad's
control and communications systems, but also electronic components of missiles,
even those located in deep bunkers. But the U.S. command chose not to use
electromagnetic bombs for fear that they might disrupt its own radio electronic
equipment in the area.
- Today, many countries have electromagnetic weapons. Military
experts predict a victory in future wars to those who will be ahead in
electromagnetic radiation. In many cases, not only the military-industrial
complexes but also different civilian organizations, research institutes
and universities conduct studies in this field, thereby increasing the
threat of radio electronic terrorism. For example, a broadband high-energy
and compact wave source is sold without any restrictions. In several fractions
of a second, it can burn down all electronic equipment at an electric power
station, substation or control tower.
- A short intensive pulse can instantly paralyze data bases,
financial centers and industrial equipment.
- Yuri Zaitsev is an academic adviser at the Academy of
- The opinions expressed in this article are the author's
and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.