According to a study published by the National Academies, the mystery ailment that has plagued U.S. embassy workers and CIA officers off and on in the past four years in Cuba, China, Russia and other countries seems to have been triggered by high-power microwaves.
A committee of 19 medical and other field experts concluded that the “most plausible mechanism” for understanding the disorder, which is called Havana syndrome, is directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy.
Who attacked the messages or why they were attacked is not explained by the study.
But the technology behind the alleged weapons is well known and dates back to the U.S.-Soviet Union arms race in the Cold War. Usually, high-powered microwave arms are designed to kill electronic equipment.
But these energy bursts may also damage individuals, as the Havana Syndrome reports indicate.
As an electrical and computer engineer who designs and develops high-power microwave sources, I have researched the physics of these sources for decades, including working with the U.S.
Directed-energy microwave weapons transform and aim energy from a power source – a power outlet in a lab or a military vehicle engine – into radiated electromagnetic energy.
The targeted high-power microwave damages equipment without killing people nearby, particularly electronics.
Boeing’s Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Microwave Missile Project (CHAMP), which integrates a high-power microwave source into a missile, and the Tactical High-power Operational Responder (THOR), recently built to take out drone swarms by the Air Force Research Laboratory, are two good examples.
A news article about the United States
High-power Air Force microwave anti-drone weapon THOR.
Origins Of The Cold War.
In the late 1960s, in the United States and the Soviet Union, these types of directed-energy microwave devices came on the market.
The invention of pulsed energy in the 1960s made it possible for them. Pulsed energy creates brief electrical pulses of very high electrical power, i.e. tens of kiloampers of high voltage – up to many megavolts – and strong electrical currents.
That’s more voltage than the strongest transmission lines in high voltage and around a lightning bolt’s amperage.
At the time, plasma physicists realized that if, for example, a 1-megavolt electron beam with 10 kiloamperes of current could be produced, a beam power of 10 billion watts, or gigawatts, would result.
1 gigawatt of microwaves is created by converting 10 per cent of this beam power to microwaves using traditional microwave tube technology from the 1940s.
By contrast, today’s modern microwave ovens have an output power of around a thousand watts – a million times smaller.
The development of this technology culminated in a microwave power derby – part of the U.S.-Soviet arms race.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Russian pulsed power accelerators, such as the SINUS-6, which is still running in my lab, gained access to me and other American scientists.
I had a fruitful decade of working with my Russian peers, which quickly ended when Vladimir Putin came to power.
Today, in the U.S. and Russia, high-power microwave research continues, but in China it has exploded.
Since 1991, I have visited laboratories in Russia and laboratories in China since 2006, and investment in China dwarfs operation in the United States and Russia.
There are now successful high-power microwave research programs in dozens of nations.
While very high power is provided by these high-power microwave sources, they appear to produce repeated short pulses.
For example, in my laboratory, the SINUS-6 generates an output pulse of 10 nanoseconds, or billionths of a second. Thus, even with an output power of 1 gigawatt, the energy content of a 10-nanosecond pulse is just 10 joules.
To put this in perspective, 1 kilojoule, or a thousand joules of energy, is produced by an average microwave oven in one second.
Boiling a cup of water, which is 240 kilojoules of electricity, usually takes about 4 minutes.
This is why the microwaves generated by these high-power microwave weapons do not generate substantial quantities of heat, let alone cause individuals to explode in a microwave oven like baked potatoes.