It is the stuff of science fiction — or used to be — and could become a game-changing technology if it lives up to the advanced billing. It is microwave directed energy. Raytheon bought a small technology company last week called Ktech with much experience in building relatively compact microwave generators.
Ktech’s combined experience in these fields may well lead to a directed energy bomb capable of frying the electronics of an enemy command center without causing any casualties.
The other piece of experience that Ktech boasts is in building enormous nuclear accelerators, among the most complex engineering feats that man has attempted. According to Mike Booen, Raytheon’s vice president for directed energy, Ktech’s combined experience in these fields may well lead to a directed energy bomb capable of frying the electronics of an enemy command center without causing any casualties.
America’s enemies are smart enough to put command and control centers in the center of civilian areas, knowing that will deter American attempts to bomb them, Booen notes. But put a powerful microwave generator in a bomb, add an antenna to it to direct the energy and you’ve got a powerful weapon that can effectively decapitate an enemy without hurting a fly.
While compelling, this wasn’t the only reason that Raytheon bought the roughly 300-person company. Among the corporate reasons for Raytheon buying Ktech are its close ties to the Sandia National Laboratories, famous for their work on nuclear weapon effects and on directed and pulsed power energy systems, Booen said.