US Army begins testing a weapon overwhelming enemy electronics

US army began testing electricity guns to use it against electronics on the battlefield. This gun looks like standard M4 rifle with a pair of antennas. James E. Burke, an electronics engineer with the U.S. Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. Burke spoke with Defense One at a National Defense Industry Association event in Baltimore on Tuesday.

Burk's gun named "Burke Pulsar" consists on two wide antennas, a piezoelectric generator and a few other small bits and pieces. It has a blast shield to protect the user from electricity levels that the inventor describes as "hazardous."

The Pulsar takes the explosive energy released when the gun fires and converts it into electrical energy. This is done via the piezoelectric effect, which derives an electric charge when pressure is exerted on crystalline materials such as quartz, changing the balance of positive and negative ions.

 The military experimented with energy weapos for decades. But mostly these are vehicle-towed and require a huge power system. The Burke Pulsar, meanwhile, fits into an M4 rifle like a standard suppressor. Burke estimates that the cost to mass-produce them would be less than $1,000 each. Also there is another interesting prototype that have emerged a few years ago in Seattle. This is a Nerf gun created by Rob Flickenger in aluminum and rigged it to shoot 20,000 volts of electricity a short distance.

Energy gun is not intended to shoot people, but for use against electronics, potentially giving dismounted soldiers an edge against the ever-wider range electronic and cyber threats that they might face on patrol:Bluetooth-enabled improvised explosive devices, consumer drones modified to be more deadly, and the like.

The Army is currently testing the Pulsar against an assortment of devices, a 555 timer, a bipolar junction transistor and a yellow light emitting diode, or LED, combined into a single target. "All these things pretty much generalize all the common electronics you'll find in a circuit board," Burke said."What we're going to do is fire at it. If the LED light stops blinking, it was defeated and if smoke comes up, it was destroyed."

As for the range, "we're still investigating," said Burke The capabilities measured so far "turn classified very quickly." He couldn't go into detail about how the tests were progressing, but he called them "very promising."

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