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Direct-Energy Weapons - In Australia



This article is about practical experiments with energy weapons.

For fictional uses, see raygun.



A directed-energy weapon (DEW) emits energy in an aimed direction without the means of a projectile. It transfers energy to a target for a desired effect. Intended effects may be non-lethal or lethal. Some such weapons are real, or are under active research and development.

The energy can come in various forms:

Some such weapons, perhaps most, at present only appear in science fiction, non-functional toys, film props or animation.

In science fiction, these weapons are sometimes known as death rays or rayguns and are usually portrayed as projecting energy at a person or object to kill or destroy. Many modern examples of science fiction have more specific names for directed energy weapons, due to research advances.


Six Major Energy Weapons Manufacturers Operating in Australia

 Bae Systems

BAE SYSTEMS Electronic Warfare Contracts In Australia Underline Growing Capability

13 Jun 2005

BAE Systems electronic warfare capability in Australia looks set to grow further with the formalisation of production quantities of radar warning receivers for the F/A-18 Hornet and emerging export opportunities.

The company is currently responding to a Request for Quotation for the production of the ALR-2002 Radar Warning Receivers after it was selected for fitment to the Australian F/A-18 Hornet fleet as part of the Hornet Upgrade Program.



Sonic Sound Raws above Gold Coast Surf


Propagation of sound

Sound is a sequence of waves of pressure that propagates through compressible media such as air or water. (Sound can propagate through solids as well, but there are additional modes of propagation). During propagation, waves can be reflected, refracted, or attenuated by the medium.[2]

The behavior of sound propagation is generally affected by three things:

  • A relationship between density and pressure. This relationship, affected by temperature, determines the speed of sound within the medium.
  • The propagation is also affected by the motion of the medium itself. For example, sound moving through wind. Independent of the motion of sound through the medium, if the medium is moving, the sound is further transported.
  • The viscosity of the medium also affects the motion of sound waves. It determines the rate at which sound is attenuated.
  • For many media, such as air or water, attenuation due to viscosity is negligible.

When sound is moving through a medium that does not have constant physical properties, it may be refracted (either dispersed or focused).[2]

Perception of sound

Human ear

The perception of sound in any organism is limited to a certain range of frequencies. For humans, hearing is normally limited to frequencies between about 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz (20 kHz)[3], although these limits are not definite. The upper limit generally decreases with age. Other species have a different range of hearing. For example, dogs can perceive vibrations higher than 20 kHz, but are deaf to anything below 40 Hz. As a signal perceived by one of the major senses, sound is used by many species for detecting danger, navigation, predation, and communication. Earth's atmosphere, water, and virtually any physical phenomenon, such as fire, rain, wind, surf, or earthquake, produces (and is characterized by) its unique sounds. Many species, such as frogs, birds, marine and terrestrial mammals, have also developed special organs to produce sound. In some species, these produce song and speech. Furthermore, humans have developed culture and technology (such as music, telephone and radio) that allows them to generate, record, transmit, and broadcast sound.

[edit] Physics of sound

The mechanical vibrations that can be interpreted as sound are able to travel through all forms of matter: gases, liquids, solids, and plasmas. The matter that supports the sound is called the medium. Sound cannot travel through a vacuum.

[edit] Longitudinal and transverse waves

Sinusoidal waves of various frequencies; the bottom waves have higher frequencies than those above. The horizontal axis represents time.

Sound is transmitted through gases, plasma, and liquids as longitudinal waves, also called compression waves. Through solids, however, it can be transmitted as both longitudinal waves and transverse waves. Longitudinal sound waves are waves of alternating pressure deviations from the equilibrium pressure, causing local regions of compression and rarefaction, while transverse waves (in solids) are waves of alternating shear stress at right angle to the direction of propagation.

Matter in the medium is periodically displaced by a sound wave, and thus oscillates. The energy carried by the sound wave converts back and forth between the potential energy of the extra compression (in case of longitudinal waves) or lateral displacement strain (in case of transverse waves) of the matter and the kinetic energy of the oscillations of the medium.

[edit] Sound wave properties and characteristics

Sound waves are often simplified to a description in terms of sinusoidal plane waves, which are characterized by these generic properties: