Effects of Directed Energy Weapons – 1994 – FIRES and Destruction and Death



This book is on the effects of directed energy weapons. That is,
how they propagate to and interact with targets. Propagation and
target interaction are the key elements in an analysis of a
weapon’s utility to accomplish a given mission. For example, the
effectiveness of a nuclear missile is determined by the yield of its
warhead and the accuracy of its guidance, and the effectiveness of
a rifle is determined by the type of round fired, the range to the
target, and the skill of the soldier who fires it. Directed energy
weapons are no different. But while there are books and manuals
that deal with the issues affecting the utility of nuclear missiles
and rifles, there is no comparable source of information for directed
energy weapons. I have tried to fill that void with this book.
Weapons are devices which deliver sufficient energy to targets to
damage them. Weapon design involves a dialog between weapon
designers, and military planners. Designers create means of projecting
energy, and planners have targets that they would like to
destroy. Effective design requires a knowledge of the targets and
the circumstances of their engagement, and effective planning requires
a knowledge of the weapons and their characteristics. But in
new and emerging areas of weaponry, designers and planners
often don’t speak the same language. As a result, designers can operate
in ignorance of operational realities, and planners can assume
that anything involving new technology will meet all their needs.
This book should also serve as an introduction to the language of
directed energy weapons for military planners and other non-technical
persons who need to understand what the engineers and scientists
involved in their development are talking about.
Chapter 1 outlines basic philosophies and ideas that are used
throughout the book. The other chapters are each devoted to a specific
type of directed energy weapon, and are reasonably self-contained.
Therefore, a reader interested primarily in one weapon type
will find it sufficient to read Chapter 1 together with the chapter of
interest. In some cases, duplication is avoided by developing topics
in great detail in one chapter, and presenting them again in a summary
form in other chapters. The reader is referred to the detailed
discussion for any elaboration that may be required.