KOLKATA: Avid Tintin fans were first introduced to Herge's version of an e-weapon in The Calculus Affair where the eccentric professor develops sonic waves strong enough to destroy glass and bone china from a distance. Nearly half a century later, James Bond enthusiasts got to see a mirror satellite, Icarus in action in 'Die Another Day' which had the capability to focus the Sun's rays to a small area on earth and destroy any kind of structure either on its surface or in the air.
Today, e-weapons are no longer a figment of the imagination. While the US has already made significant progress in utilising lasers and microwaves as weapons, India is not too far behind.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with assistance from the Centre of Millimeter-wave Semiconductor Devices and Systems (CMSDS) in Kolkata and other research centres has come a long way in developing India's first e-weapon, which may be a High Power Microwave (HPM) beam to bring down enemy aircraft and missiles, destroy bunkers and turn the adversary's sophisticated computers to junk.
The CMSDS, a joint venture between DRDO and the University of Calcutta, is playing a key role in the project. "We are developing high-powered lasers and microwaves. The microwave centre in Kolkata is playing a very important role," Dr W Selvamurthy, chief controller (R&D), DRDO, told TOI. DRDO chief and scientific adviser to the defence minister V K Saraswat also said that the centre in Kolkata is a very important partner in the DRDO's plans.
According to scientists, the millimeter-waves, on which the centre in Kolkata is working on, are what differentiate the HPM from what is generated by a simple microwave oven in the kitchen. The waves required for a weapon have extremely high frequency and low wavelengths while the microwave ovens generate low frequency and high wavelengths. It is the short millimeter waves that make this weapon less lethal for humans while achieving its purpose on equipment. These waves are also extremely crucial for detection of satellites in space and other military hardware behind bunkers.
"We are satisfied with the work going on at CMSDS. There is tremendous potential for the research that is being carried out," said Suranjan Das, vice chancellor, Calcutta University.
Source: Times of India