Basics of Electric Weapons and Pulsed-Power Technologies   [open pdf - 585KB]

From the Document: "Most conventional weapons rely on chemical energy (explosives) as their destruction mechanism, either to explode on target, like bombs, or to create kinetic energy, like a bullet. Electric weapons are different. Electric weapons use stored electrical energy, rather than explosives, to attack or destroy the target. Electric weapons generally fall into two categories: directed-energy weapons (DEWs) and electromagnetic (EM) launchers. DEWs send energy, instead of matter, toward a target, and can be separated into three types: laser weapons, particle-beam weapons, and high-power microwave (HPM) or radio-frequency (RF) weapons. EM launchers use electrical energy to throw a mass at a target, thus making them distinct from directed energy. There are also three types of EM launchers: rail guns, coil guns, and induction drivers. All involve the use of strong magnetic fields to push against projectiles. [...] Challenges remain for many electric weapon concepts. These weapon systems appear promising to meet the increasingly important asymmetric threats with low-cost precision rounds. They also can be employed across the energy spectrum for nonlethal targeting. Electric weapon systems will, in many cases, continue to supplement existing kinetic weapon systems in the near term. Despite technology challenges, directed-energy and electric weapons hold great promise in offering the future warfighter unique combat capabilities not currently available."

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