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View Full Version : Soviet Particle Beam Weapons - Fact or Fiction



Graham2001
2007-Feb-19, 03:04 PM
NOTE: If this proves to be 'verboten' my full apologies.

I was going through a library dump sale and picked up a coffee-table book on 'space warfare' ('The Shape of Wars to Come:The Hidden Facts Behind the Arms Race in Space', David Baker, Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1981), basically its a quickie (as for how quick there are only two photos of Space Shuttles that don't show them being built, one is of the first launch of Columbia, the other is a launch practice using Enterprise.).

The book is typical late-70's early-80's alarmism about Soviet capabilities in the realm of space warfare. Chapter 7 (The Ultimate Threat, pgs 147-166) contains a somewhat lurid tale of the supposed Soviet supremacy in the field of Particle Beam Weapons, with secret labs at places like Semipalatinsk & Sarova, mysterious 'nuclear debris' detected in 1978 over Alaska and concludes with the vision of space based Particle beam weapons scouring the Earths surface of life while leaving buildings intact.

Curiously the Russians are credited with having a ground based system 'ready to go' while the US are the ones supposedly working on a space based system under the codename of 'White Horse'.

The book itself has no references and so I have no way of knowing where to start to run down the truth or otherwise.

Has anyone else done some digging into this and would they be willing to share?

gwiz
2007-Feb-19, 03:09 PM
The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society had a good history of the Soviet counterpart to "Starwars" a few years back. I think that they called it Astrofizika.

Graham2001
2007-Feb-19, 03:13 PM
The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society had a good history of the Soviet counterpart to "Starwars" a few years back. I think that they called it Astrofizika.

This predates Regans 'Starwars', the book still refers to Carter as US president, my guess it was written in 79/80, all the Soviet developments supposedly took place between 75 and 79.

eburacum45
2007-Feb-19, 03:55 PM
It seems to have been a mistake by Major General George J. Keegan, head of Air Force intelligence, according to this site;
http://www.fas.org/spp/eprint/keegan.htm


Several types of activity at Semipalatinsk were interpreted as indicating particle beam weapon work. However, it is now clear that each of these observed activities were in fact part of the Soviet nuclear rocket program. Suggestions that the rocket test stands at Semipalatinsk had been improperly interpreted as directed energy weapons facilities were first raised in early 1992.(8) But the September 1992 tour of Semipalatinsk has clarified this long-standing mystery.

A number of activities observed in the mid-1970s, which Keegan and his supporters interpreted as evidence of a Soviet beam weapon program, are now clearly revealed as aspects of the Soviet nuclear rocket program.
But I have no data on the reliability of that source.

gwiz
2007-Feb-19, 03:56 PM
I've found an on-line source, not nearly as detailed as the JBIS paper, though:
http://www.oook.info/dyson/sdi.html

Graham2001
2007-Feb-19, 04:40 PM
It seems to have been a mistake by Major General George J. Keegan, head of Air Force intelligence.

Interesting, he's the guy who wrote the forward to the book in the OP, I thought it was a shill for Rockwell International, the people who built the shuttle. An RI successor (Star-Raker) to the shuttle gets a big push, both in the intro scenario (pgs 8 & 9) and the last chapter (Star Raker, pgs 167-174). Now I'm wondering if Keegan had a bigger hand in writing the book than it appears at first glance.

I find it strange that the US would have failed to recognize nuclear-thermal engine tests for what they were, surely they still had the files left over from NERVA?

As to the accuracy of the linked document, not sure, but anyone who includes 'Dr Strangelove' references without mentioning them should be taken with a grain of salt...

gwiz
2007-Feb-19, 07:55 PM
As far as I can remember, all the projects mentioned in the on-line link were described in greater detail in the JBIS paper, which gave a lot of reference sources, nearly all of which were Russian.

Graham2001
2007-Feb-20, 12:30 AM
As far as I can remember, all the projects mentioned in the on-line link were described in greater detail in the JBIS paper, which gave a lot of reference sources, nearly all of which were Russian.

Oops:o. I should have made it clear, I was referring to the FAS report, while I fully understand the authors point, I also recognize the slant of his writing (its as easy to spot as the slant in the book in the OP) but I thought mentioning the "mine-shaft gap" was laying it on a bit thick.

Mister Earl
2007-Feb-20, 06:40 PM
I recall reading about the Soviets attempting to utilize pulse-power technology (detonate a conventional explosive in a metal sphere to harvest its energy, like a giant version of the MythBuster's gunpowder engine) to power a particle beam weapon. Apparently, they did a few tests in underground facilities, but nothing every came from it.

gwiz
2007-Feb-28, 11:37 AM
With excellent timing, I've just received the latest copy of Quest (http://www.spacebusiness.com/quest/back.htm). The main article is Part 1 of a history of the Soviet orbital laser battle station project, which got to the point of attempting to orbit a 77 tonne systems test model in 1987. While it doesn't touch on particle beams, it does reveal that the whole Soviet "starwars" programme was authorised by a joint decree of the party and government in 1976, so it certainly pre-dates Reagan's programme.

publiusr
2007-Mar-02, 11:28 PM
That was Energiya's First launch--Polyus. I think it will have been 20 years this May. Sary Shagan almost blinded Challenger's crew with Terra, and there was this talk about the "Elipton."

JonClarke
2007-Mar-03, 07:49 AM
Sary Shagan almost blinded Challenger's crew with Terra, and there was this talk about the "Elipton."

I have seen this said before, but no evidence given. Do you have any?

Jon

publiusr
2007-Mar-09, 08:38 PM
As far as the Ellipton, I remember an article, and an MTV broadcast from years back. It makes circles in the UFO community but its origin is outside of it. It sounds like one of those EMP flash-bangs--if it exists at all...

http://www.ufocom.org/UfocomS/usSysarme_2.htm

'For instance, have you heard about “elipton”? This is what can be read on Don Roper’s site (professor at the University of Colorado):'

“Romanian sources have alleged that the "Elipton" weapon referred to by Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky is a weapon system based on gravitational interference. The source hinted at a link between the use of this type of weapon and the cause of the Armenian earthquake. The "Hammer", as the weapon is also known, can allegedly trigger earthquakes through varying the gravitational acceleration in areas where there is accumulated tension in the ground”.

'And here is a relevant statement from Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who declared in 1994:'

“This weapon is stronger than nuclear weapons because its consequences are different, and there is no antidote. This is where its strength lies. There is no way of defending against it. It is the same with the sonic weapon. We also have this. What happens is that the cartridge detonates, and the sound is such that it brings down an entire military division. That is it; they are dead. . . . The elipton has the same effect. There is no radiation, no fire. There are no wounds. And entire military division simply dies. It is similar to the neutron weapon, but the latter has radiation. It has a damaging effect. The neutrons enter the human body; those cause the destruction. With the former, there is no damage, but all of life is immediately destroyed . Asked if the Americans or others had the weapon: No... No one. Russian scientists developed it exclusively”.

'Truth, hoax, sci-fi, misinformation? Perhaps...'

More probable...
http://www.astronautix.com/articles/thistems.htm
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/terra3.htm

satori
2007-Mar-10, 08:58 PM
He Who Controls Gravity Controls The Universe Herself
Elipton,Elipton, Elipton...that's some powerful incantation....
(and all on MTV you say)

JonClarke
2007-Mar-10, 10:48 PM
And Zhirinovsky is, of course, a reliable source.

Jon

sts60
2007-Mar-12, 02:45 PM
This weapon is stronger than nuclear weapons because its consequences are different, and there is no antidote.

I was just wondering what the antidote to being on the receiving end of a nuclear weapon was... :think:

captain swoop
2007-Mar-12, 04:02 PM
Duck and Cover of course!

satori
2007-Mar-12, 05:03 PM
Cover and Duck!

AtomBombCoverDuck

A with this memo
B you will be
C double
D save

Serenitude
2007-Mar-12, 08:45 PM
Isn't a flashlight technically a "particle beam generator"? If so, I have several. And they're for sale to the highest bidder ;)

satori
2007-Mar-12, 09:37 PM
so you are in possesion of a forbidden weapon then.........

stutefish
2007-Mar-12, 10:08 PM
Isn't a flashlight technically a "particle beam generator"? If so, I have several. And they're for sale to the highest bidder ;)

Reminds me of a Larry Niven story where...

... Hrm.

It's actually a very good story, and I'd rather not spoil it. Anybody know the one I mean?

Serenitude
2007-Mar-12, 11:15 PM
Reminds me of a Larry Niven story where...

... Hrm.

It's actually a very good story, and I'd rather not spoil it. Anybody know the one I mean?

Please name it, though. Sounds like a good read :D

Donnie B.
2007-Mar-12, 11:21 PM
Reminds me of a Larry Niven story where...

... Hrm.

It's actually a very good story, and I'd rather not spoil it. Anybody know the one I mean?Are you referring to the story about the first contact between humans and Kzinti?

stutefish
2007-Mar-12, 11:52 PM
Actually, no. That's another good one, though--one of my favorites, in fact.

This one is actually structured as a classic "whodunit", of the Agatha Christie type. A dead body, several suspects, a number of clues, and one clever detective who puts all the pieces together. The obvious suspect is exonerated, the red herrings are discarded, and the unlikely candidate revealed during a shocking drawing-room recreation/denoument speech.

One of several Niven did in this style, which turns out to be well-suited to explicating unfamiliar future technologies in an intersting and exciting way (in the hands of a competent storyteller, anyway).

stutefish
2007-Mar-13, 12:00 AM
Please name it, though. Sounds like a good read :D

Unfortunately, I have no idea what the title is. It's been many years since I read the story. I do know it was a short story, published in or before the N Space short story collection.

sts60
2007-Mar-13, 03:44 PM
Yes, there was a suspicious circular area around the body...

N Space or in The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton?

SpitfireIX
2007-Mar-14, 12:17 AM
The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton?

That's the one. I thought of the same story even before I saw Stutefish's post. I read all of Niven's Known Space books when I was in high school and college (the first time). He had some interesting commentary on writing mystery SF; specifically, how one has to be very careful about playing fair with the reader--that is, making sure that any SF gadgets or concepts that are important to solving the mystery are adequately introduced and explained. That's one of my favorite books of Niven's, BTW.

Van Rijn
2007-Mar-14, 01:25 AM
He had some interesting commentary on writing mystery SF; specifically, how one has to be very careful about playing fair with the reader--that is, making sure that any SF gadgets or concepts that are important to solving the mystery are adequately introduced and explained.


Right, you can't introduce a Star Trek like transporter device on the last page of a locked room mystery, for example. You have to play fair in science fiction or fantasy novels and carefully explain any rules that do not fit with the world as we know it ahead of time (one of the reasons why I will always hate James P. Hogan as a writer, by the way). As Niven noted, it's very hard to do it right, so you tend not to see that much in SF & F mysteries, and few good ones. Niven did some of the good ones.

Neverfly
2007-Mar-14, 04:10 AM
Right, you can't introduce a Star Trek like transporter device on the last page of a locked room mystery, for example. You have to play fair in science fiction or fantasy novels and carefully explain any rules that do not fit with the world as we know it ahead of time (one of the reasons why I will always hate James P. Hogan as a writer, by the way). As Niven noted, it's very hard to do it right, so you tend not to see that much in SF & F mysteries, and few good ones. Niven did some of the good ones.

I liked Hogans "Giants" series.

Van Rijn
2007-Mar-14, 10:37 AM
"Inherit the Stars" is the book I'm referring to. Others I don't want to know about.

publiusr
2007-Mar-15, 08:04 PM
This weapon is stronger than nuclear weapons because its consequences are different, and there is no antidote.

I was just wondering what the antidote to being on the receiving end of a nuclear weapon was... :think:

Vlad was either **'ing, or heard about some more conventional weapon (fuel/air) and was confused. The Russians have a lot of good rocket engineers--and they also have a lot of fringe types..charged water and all.

I would not put it past them having an ability to snipe at out spysats with directed energy weapons though. Pump enough electrical power and you can do most anything.

I myself remember hearing scuttlebutt about how some large parabolic dishes of a installation on an island were pointed at Soviet "trawlers" and turned on--wide open. Something about "arcing" and "cancer" came to mind...

mugaliens
2007-Mar-24, 01:55 PM
NOTE: If this proves to be 'verboten' my full apologies.

I was going through a library dump sale and picked up a coffee-table book on 'space warfare' ('The Shape of Wars to Come:The Hidden Facts Behind the Arms Race in Space', David Baker, Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1981), basically its a quickie (as for how quick there are only two photos of Space Shuttles that don't show them being built, one is of the first launch of Columbia, the other is a launch practice using Enterprise.).

The book is typical late-70's early-80's alarmism about Soviet capabilities in the realm of space warfare. Chapter 7 (The Ultimate Threat, pgs 147-166) contains a somewhat lurid tale of the supposed Soviet supremacy in the field of Particle Beam Weapons, with secret labs at places like Semipalatinsk & Sarova, mysterious 'nuclear debris' detected in 1978 over Alaska and concludes with the vision of space based Particle beam weapons scouring the Earths surface of life while leaving buildings intact.

Curiously the Russians are credited with having a ground based system 'ready to go' while the US are the ones supposedly working on a space based system under the codename of 'White Horse'.

The book itself has no references and so I have no way of knowing where to start to run down the truth or otherwise.

Has anyone else done some digging into this and would they be willing to share?

I can neither confirm nor deny...

dgavin
2007-Mar-24, 05:32 PM
If you can get access to a local library of congress in the USA, I'd suggest reading the seiries of puplications starting in 1983, entiliteld Stratigic Defense Inititive (aka Star Wars)

When I was in the army I was allowed to have them in my collection, but I had to turn them in when I left the military.

They had all sort of stuff that was techicaly planned. Some relistic, some not.

Realistic was the IR Laser anti ICBM Defense grid (and yes three of the planned 20 stations were built), the ABM missles we don't have, and then publicly test fired a few years ago (heh), and the MOAB non nuclear bomb.

Unrelistic was some weather control weapons, some of thier plans for FTL craft, and stun guns (although the Taser did come to fruition, it was only one of many), and many of the particle beam weapons (most of those required a nuclear plant or two to generate the power needed for them)

Gillianren
2007-Mar-24, 09:04 PM
If you can get access to a local library of congress in the USA, I'd suggest reading the seiries of puplications starting in 1983, entiliteld Stratigic Defense Inititive (aka Star Wars)

I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as a "local" Library of Congress. I'm pretty sure there's only the one. However, there are all kinds of other libraries with government documents.

dgavin
2007-Mar-26, 07:45 AM
I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as a "local" Library of Congress. I'm pretty sure there's only the one. However, there are all kinds of other libraries with government documents.

Sorry i should of phrased that check at your local state governments library (usualy they have copies of stuff from Library of Congress like this)

Gillianren
2007-Mar-26, 09:04 PM
Heck, the college I attended has a large section of its library devoted to government documents.

publiusr
2007-Apr-27, 09:32 PM
Over at Sterne library at UAB, is a donated line of shelves with the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets.

All under a deep layer of dust...

Maha Vailo
2007-Apr-29, 06:53 PM
Just out of curisity, is a particle beam wepon even plausible or practical, if so, what would the beam look like to a viewer? What effects would it have?

- Maha Vailo

Grashtel
2007-Apr-29, 08:14 PM
Just out of curisity, is a particle beam wepon even plausible or practical, if so, what would the beam look like to a viewer? What effects would it have?
Plausible yes, practical not without a number of huge breakthroughs in several fields. As to what it would look like I believe that the beam would look like a straight bolt of lightning and have similar effects on the target, though probably with reduced electrical effects, it would also produce dangerous levels of gamma radiation.

Maha Vailo
2007-Apr-30, 12:41 AM
Plausible yes, practical not without a number of huge breakthroughs in several fields.

What kinds of breakthroughs would have to happen?


As to what it would look like I believe that the beam would look like a straight bolt of lightning and have similar effects on the target, though probably with reduced electrical effects, it would also produce dangerous levels of gamma radiation.

What do you base this hypothesis on, and how much gamma radiation would it pour out?

- Maha Vailo

Mister Earl
2007-Apr-30, 03:09 PM
A particle beam weapon utilizes huge banks of ultracapacitors and a small nuclear reactor to step up a massive charge, then pumps all that juice into a "magnetic breech" all at once. This supposedly fires a round a few molecules across to approximately six tenths the speed of light. (Don't hold me to that! That was the "guesstimation" in the article I read.) When the round impacts the target, it doesn't punch through like a bullet. Rather, it shatters on impact, transferring all that kinetic energy into thermal energy, incinerating the target.

I think I read this in a copy of Popular Science... don't recall month OR year =\

publiusr
2007-Apr-30, 07:13 PM
Interesting. Who needs fighter bombers when you can find targets in the desert and zap them. Great psych!

Mister Earl
2007-May-02, 03:15 PM
Yeah. You'd never see a shot, just a flash of heat as the guy standing next to you suddenly turns to ash. Considering the level of heat generated, you'd probably hear a thunderclap as the air around the target superheats.