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Microwave Weapons

Microwave Weapons

Context:

Indian Army has rejected a report published in the British daily newspaper as “baseless and fake”. The report had quoted a Chinese professor to claim that the Chinese army had used “microwave weapons” to drive Indian soldiers away from their positions in eastern Ladakh.

Background:

  • India and China have been locked in a tense standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh for the last six months.
  • The Beijing-datelined report in ‘The Times’ titled “China turns Ladakh battleground with India into a microwave oven”.
  • The Chinese professor quoted in the report claimed that Chinese forces had turned two strategic hilltops occupied by Indian soldiers “into a microwave oven”, forcing them to retreat, and allowing the positions to be retaken without an exchange of conventional fire.

Microwave Weapons:

  • These are supposed to be a type of direct energy weapons, which aim at highly focused energy in the form of sonic, laser, or microwaves, at a target.
  • Microwave weapons used beams of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation to heat the water in a human target’s skin, causing pain and discomfort.
  • Concerns have been raised on whether they can damage the eyes or have a carcinogenic impact in the long term.

Working of a Microwave:

  • In a microwave oven, an electron tube called a magnetron produces electromagnetic waves (microwaves) that bounce around the metal interior of the appliance, and are absorbed by the food.
  • The microwaves agitate the water molecules in the food, and their vibration produces heat that cooks the food.

Possession of Microwave Weapons:

  • A number of countries are thought to have developed these weapons to target both humans and electronic systems.
  • China had first put on display its “microwave weapon”, called Poly WB-1, at an air show in 2014.
  • The United States has also developed a prototype microwave-style weapon, which it calls the “Active Denial System”.
  • The Active Denial System is needed because it’s the first non-lethal, directed-energy, counter-personnel system with an extended range greater than currently fielded non-lethal weapons.

Source: Indian Express