The state arms agency, Armscor, has provided the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) further funding to investigate radio frequency (RF) weapons. It last week awarded the state research body R2 818 088,00 for the “development of radio frequency weapon technology.”
It appears to be a follow-on to a R1 456 400,00 contract awarded in November 2007.
RF weapons are often described as “non-lethal” or “less-than-lethal” armaments and can be used to control people or destroy materiel. Some countries have developed RF weapons for riot control, or to deny access to critical and secret facilities. Others see RF weapons as a way to attack ICT.
Wikipedia notes that high-intensity RF weapons “operate similarly to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) devices, by inducing destructive voltage within electronic wiring”. US officials have for years feared that terrorists, foreign or domestic, and criminals might seize upon such weapons and use them against data centres, or critical infrastructure, such as control centres for air traffic or the power grid.
Tests conducted by the US military and evidence presented in Congress show the knowledgeable and disgruntled can build such weapons from parts easily obtainable in an electronics store. According to the researchers, just about any electronic device is vulnerable to such weapons – if not adequately shielded. Most civilian infrastructure is not protected from EMP or RF weapons, leaving notebooks, PCs, servers and any other unshielded device containing printed circuit boards vulnerable to blackmailers or anyone else with a grudge or profit motive.
Development of Radio frequency weapon technology
EPMS/2010/413 17 Mar 2011 R2 818 088,00 CSIR t/a DPSS
Radio frequency weapon technology
EPMS/2007/322 21 Nov 2007 R1 456 400,00 CSIR t/a DPSS