US military unveils experimental HERF gun that can immobilize cars, boats


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/30/zapguns-r-us.html


#2

So THAT’S why my car keeps stalling?


#3

Presumably since this can be mounted on a vehicle there is some way to shield the electronics. Makes me wonder how directional this is too. What if you installed some sort of microwave reflector on your vehicle. Could it be redirected? Too funny if it could be redirected back at the herf gun vehicle itself and disable it. Would the scatter cause nearby vehicles to stall out as well?

Frankly doesn’t seem that likely to become device that would be truly useful in the field.


#4

Or just use an old, pre-electronic ignition vehicle for your attack.


#5

You’re making me miss my long gone 1983 Sentra right about now.


#6

Seems like an expensive gadget that can be countered in the simplest low-tech ways, as hinted at in the blog post.


#7

(soon-to-be-dead) person with pacemaker?


#8


#9

The early 80’s is now the key to defeating the US military. Here’s a boat fit for terrorist service:
image


#10

Coming soon to a cop car near you.


#11

Right, I don’t see hundreds of cities snapping these devices up as a means of deterring the handful of people who use vehicles as weapons. Even if every large city had one, it would take a while to deploy - imagine a van targeting pedestrians in a spread-out city like LA or London and the time it would take to get the HERF truck in place.

That said, I’m not disappointed that the US military spends money on researching nonlethal and less-lethal weapons.


#12

I remember thinking that one of the advantages of my old 1971 Volvo 144 was that it was EMP-proof, since it had points.


#13

The ECU (probably already in a metal case) may be well protected, it’s all the wires connected to it that you have to shield… and disconnect from the chassis ground.

Just get an old “hero’s classic car.”


#14

I find it very likely that a more sophisticated version is being used in Syria by Russian forces against US aircraft and drones.


#15

Non-Lethal Weapons

Until someone points it at your plane.

[oops. OrangeTide beat me to it.]


#16

I wonder if an optoisolator like used in a MIDI circuit is enough to deal with that issue. Or if a more robust isolation is necessary. It also depends a bit on if the detector (phototransistor) and emitter (LED) is robust enough to tolerate an RF attack. Certainly single diodes and transistors simpler device than a microcontroller (which is really a set of specialized operational amplifiers to work as logic). And DRAM is quite sensitive to noise because of how row amplification works.

So an optoisolator ought to be an improvement, although I can’t say if it is enough of one to matter.


#17

So what’s stopping the microwaves from BBQing whoever is unfortunate enough to be in a car targeted by this thing? I remember pictures of birds microwaved on top of navy ships using this same technology.


#18

It draws power from a 300kw generator, and has an effective range of 50 meters, the article said. Someone with the math know-how could figure out the intensity of the beam from that.


#19

This is basically the reason the Galactica was able to escape the fate that befell (almost) all the other Battlestars.


#20

Judging from the picture, it’s a very high gain (directional) horn type antenna. It’s probably going to be a narrow and pretty intense beam at 50 feet.

And I suspect the RF device is optimized for near-field effect so that it can penetrate the metal body of your car, meaning that a Faraday cage is a mostly ineffective protection for your car’s ECU.