- MUMBAI - The Bhabha Atomic
Research Centre (Barc) here is in the final stages of assembling a powerful
electron accelerating machine named ''Kali-5000`` which, its scientists
say, can potentially be used as a beam weapon.
- Bursts of microwaves packed with gigawatts of power (one
gigawatt is 1000 million watts) produced by this machine, when aimed at
enemy missiles and aircraft, will cripple their electronics systems and
computer chips and bring them down.
- According to scientists, ''soft killing`` by high power
microwaves has advantages over the so called laser weapon which destroys
by drilling holes through metal.
- Kali-5000 will be ready for testing by the end of this
year, according to Mr P H Ron, head of the accelerator and pulse power
division at Barc and chief designer of India`s first star wars weapon.
- However, in the present form India`s beam weapon is too
bulky - it weighs 26 tonnes - including tanks containing 12000 litres
of oil. Mr Ron said some ''compacting`` was possible.
- He said Kali (kilo-ampere linear injector) machine was
developed for industrial applications and that the defence use was a recent
spinoff. He, however, declined to elaborate.
- Describing it as a machine ''bordering basic research,``
Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Rajagopalan Chidambaram admitted in
an interview that it has military potential. ''There are some technologies
we have to be in touch with because they may become useful (later),``
- Development of the Kali machine was mooted in 1985 by
Dr Chidambaram, then director of Barc, but work earnestly began in 1989.
- Mr Ron said the machine essentially generated pulses
of highly energetic electrons. Other components in the machine down the
line converted the electrons into flash x-rays (for ultra high-speed photography)
or microwaves. The electron beam itself can be used for welding.
- The Defence Balistics Research Institute in Chandigarh
is already using an x-ray version of Kali to study speed of projectiles.
- WORK IN BANGALORE: Another defence institute in Bangalore
is using a microwave-producing version of Kali which the scientists use
for testing the vulnerability of the electronic systems going into the
light combat aircraft under development and designing electrostatic shields
to protect them from microwave attack by the enemy.
- According to Barc scientists, the Kali machine has for
the first time provided India a way to ''harden`` the electronic systems
used in satellites and missiles against the deadly electromagnetic impulses
(Emi) generated by nuclear weapons.
- The Emi wrecks havoc by creating intense electric field
of several thousand volts per centimetre. The electronic components currently
used in missiles can withstand fields of Just 300 volts per centimetre.
- While the Kali systems built so far are single shot pulse
power systems (they produce one burst of microwaves and the next burst
comes much later), Kali-5000 is a rapid fire device, and hence its potential
as a beam weapon.
- According to Barc-published reports, the machine will
shoot several thousand bursts of microwaves, each burst lasting for just
60 billionths of a second and packed with a power of about four gigawatts.
- The high power microwave pulses travel in a straight
line and do not dissipate their energy if the frequency falls between
three and ten gigahertz.
- According to Barc scientists, a microwave power of 150
megawatts has already been demonstrated in earlier versions of Kali.
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