US defense contractor building "secret microwave gun"

BAE, a U.S. military contractor, is developing a "microwave gun" but won't release details. Wired Danger Room reports that the intent is to use the gun in combat or vessel defense scenarios on the high seas, but my bet is that it will instead be used against the menace of floating frozen burritos that litter arctic waterways.


  1. You vixen! Taunting me with visions of remotely cooked frozen burritos an hour before lunch!

  2. Bets that someone winds up using this for domestic crowd “control”. “DON’T MICROWAVE ME BRO!”

  3. Imagine being able to make the enemy’s bowl of spaghetti or bean soup explode not just in a microwave oven, but anywhere! The mess could be catastrophic! Bwah-ah-ah-ah-ah!

  4. One thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that there’s *always* a military contractor who will say they are working on $sci-fi-object. Not only that, but the military will also give them lots of money in the hopes they’ll be successful. It’s a self-perpetuating fantasy tax sponge.

  5. Don’t get too excited. It’s a gun that flings microwave ovens.

    @EH – “self-perpetuating fantasy tax sponge” – best band name ever of the week.

  6. BAE Systems is British, not US, although obviously have a global presence. I’d imagine the US government is a major sugar-daddy.

    Company Details
    BAE Systems plc
    A company registered in England and Wales
    Company Number: 1470151

  7. Well now that we’ve developed technology to solve problems like cure cancer, stop climate change, and end world hunger, why not spend a few billion to MAKE PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLY WARM?

  8. Noooooo! If you get rid of the frozen burritos what will the dolphins eat? :( They really love the pork ones too.

  9. It’s actually a low-budget catapult that can be constructed in the field. It gains its name from its design specifications: it must be able to throw projectiles that weigh an excess of 20 pounds and are 2x2x2 feet in size: about the size of a microwave.

  10. Current radar isn’t that far off the mark. The AN/SPY1 Aegis system radars probably come close. Beam power isn’t that hard to generate, SPY-1 has a published power of 6 megawatts; i’ve got seven 12-MW klystrons just down the hall. The klystron power sources aren’t all “that” big. Smaller than a UPS van. As these things go, it should be relatively easy, although the dominant effect might be to quick-cook people rather than electronics.

  11. you are missing the important distinction. An anti-person weapon like ADS _has_ to not permanently/fatally injure people. That’s hard. Geneva convention and all that stuff, but an anti-material weapon like this (or a bomb…) can kill people as a side effect.

    “Ooops, we’re so sorry about the exploded head, sir”.

    What they’re describing could fry a person (much) like bacon in less time than it takes you to skim this post. It’s all about the beam power, wavelength and just what electron bonds it’s tuned to. your microwave is about ~~10,000 to 30,000 times less powerful than a notional shipboard system. Microwave power is relatively cheap these days.

    Sounds like a death ray to me.

  12. Actually the mechanism is to get microwave band radiation in a tight focused beam. Depth of just a few milimeters is enough to hit the nerves, which then makes you feel like you are on fire. Most reasonable people will try to escape being set on fire, thus it works for crowd control

  13. What’s more relevant, here, betatron, is that it takes far, far less energy for microwaves to cook your retinas. Sadly, while you can’t see microwaves, your retina still absorbs them; and without seeing them, you don’t have a blink reflex to protect your vision.

    To be honest I’m genuinely surprised that there hasn’t been a terrorist attack focused on blinding a large group of people with microwave emissions. I hope I never see it (no pun intended) in my lifetime.

    1. That is very interesting in the context of the ADS I linked in #7. If it’s as easy for that system to blind people as your comment implies, I hope it never makes it to wide-scale use.

  14. Low-power microwave weapons were even being planned for use (as fixed turret-like emplacements) in some California jails. There was some uproar about that.

    As someone with a friend who was nearly killed in an LA jail while awaiting trial, I’ll just say that a way to break up fights faster with tele-presence is on the whole a good thing. Low amplitude microwaves don’t kill people, having your face kicked in does.

  15. Used to disperse peaceful assembly. This will be at your next protest. Best to make sure your eyes are shielded as closing your lids won’t help. Tanning goggles banned like gas masks?

  16. Sounds like a Weapon of Mass Destruction!! Quick, call the US, we must stop this!!!

    Oh wait…

  17. Wow. This is sad.

    “Hey guys, I just saw Batman Begins… and have a GREAT IDEA for a weapon!”

  18. Question is will this work on people that are already baked… If not ganja would be a quite effective countermeasure.

  19. If we’d spend billions on directly ending poverty via nonviolent means, we wouldn’t need new weapons. Because people that have their needs taken care of tend not to want to kill other people. (“Needs” include a good education beyond just what’s in biblical documents, even things that might not agree with said documents, of course.)

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