Microwave Weapons

Microwave News, November/December 1986, p. 4 (PDF)

Microwave Weapons

The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), popularly called “Star Wars,” has long been known to include RF and microwave weapons, although these usually receive second billing to particle beams, lasers and railguns. Their status may soon change.

In their October 29 syndicated column, Rowland Evans and Robert Novak claimed that the Soviet Union used high-power “ground-to-space microwaves” to disable U.S. reconnaissance satellites “on more than one occasion in the past six months.” They went on to note that the radiation, which they later called a “short-wave electromagnetic pulse” beam was fired from a ground station near the Afghan border.

Evans and Novak did not cite their sources, and no one else picked up the story — not even Aviation Week, which closely follows such developments. The magazine did note in its November 3 issue that each of the military services, as well as the Department of Energy and the SDI office, would describe their high-power microwave weapon programs to industry representatives at a conference at Kirtland AFB, NM, during the first week of December. Also on the conference agenda was a classified briefing on the “Possibility of a Soviet RF Weapon Program.”


Robert Novak, author who made public Valerie-Plame Wilson’s employment at CIA. It is fairly well known that the SDI was in part a ruse. The Soviets had of course spent mad money keeping up on the arms race where nukes were concerned. The idea was, rather than spend so much on satellite weapon systems, convince the Soviets we had it and were doing so and let them go broke trying to keep up. Afghanistan also was a financial drain on the USSR, (but it doesn’t seem possible to convey that nor say it enough that it makes the slightest difference, and they weren’t even first…hello former British Empire). The plans for these non-existent satellites were, I think, leaked through the real situation behind the story that later became the book and film, The Falcon and the Snowman.

The point: sounds like there is some BS in the Novak article. No telling exactly where. Exaggerating threats for contracts is what the military industrial complex does. That no one else picked up the story is interesting and makes it sound like it may have been planted. No indication that the Soviet capabilities should have been classified, in fact they would want it public so that there would be pressure on Congress to fund the research.



  1. […] Chuck de Caro, a former correspondent for the Cable News Network, considers the possibility that the U.S. is falling behind the U.S.S.R. in microwave weapons in “The Zap Gap,” to be published in the March issue of The Atlantic (see also MWN, November/December 1986.) […]

  2. […] Reports have circulated that the U.S. military has EMP and HPM weapons in its arsenal and that these may have been used during the Gulf War (see MWN, M/J92 and S/092). There were also allegations that non-ionizing radiation was used against the women’s peace activist encampment at Greenham Common in the U.K. in the mid-1980s (see MWN, S/086). […]

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