In none of the developments associated with RADAR science had engineers realized those achievement of Dr. Nikola Tesla, whose pulsed Radiant Energy streams were neither electromagnetic waves, particles, nor commonly understood rays. In only one instance of the RADAR system development did engineers glimpse the truth of which Tesla spoke. The development of pulse systems required the production of abrupt, explosive electrical reports of short duration. Toward this goal, engineers instinctively ran to the old wireless literature and scoured the patents for a simple means to effect the needed pulsations. The decision to produce a pulse system required special new components, upgraded versions of those much older sparkgap systems so prevalent in the early days of wireless. Charged by a DC high voltage source, the energy stored in specially made oil-filled capacitors was discharged in a variety of ways.
How curious that the demanded requirements of RADAR were compelled to follow the lead already completed and advanced by Tesla. This path of redevelopment was one of necessity, Tesla having obeyed natural laws in his first electroimpulse investigations. In each component, the methods of Tesla had been closely, and inadvertently followed. The oil-filled capacitors were one of his early patents in impulse technology. In one system, engineers used the rotating sparkgap method to obtain a rapid series of brief high power pulses. These motor-rotated discharges, applied directly to the magnetron, proved unsuitable. The sharpness, or abruptness of motor-driven discharges produced “blurry” currents; slow on the leading crest, and slower on the trailing crest Seeking for a means to produce sharp and definitive impulses, the British engineers decided to redevelop certain of the fixed-gap shock excitation methods which were so prevalent throughout the early Century. They knew that there was an essential mystery to the high power developed in these early methods.
One favored experimental arrangement utilized an enclosed gap method, once described by Tesla. When atmospheric “quenching gaps” proved too noisy and unstable, they attempted sealing the sparkgap into specially made discharge tubes. Sealed glass discharge tubes were filled with pure hydrogen gas at low atmosphere pressure. Igniter electrodes were sealed into both tube ends. These, coated with a mixture of radioactive materials, fired only when critical thresholds were reached. These Thyratron Tubes, highly radioactive, could be clamped in series to form several highly resistant barriers. Across this long and highly resistant gap, capacitor charge could reach extremely high values until discharge. When they fired, the discharges were sharp and explosive.
These effects reminded the older engineers of rumours concerning unexplained munitions explosions near old wireless transmitters. In particular, there were several instances where these effects could be repeated, indeed implemented as weaponry. The strange UHF hybrid of Dr. Turpain, a French scientist, accidentally triggered munitions explosions in a nearby weapons cache. The vacuum tube spark relays of Daniel MacFarland-Moore were said to produce munitions explosions at great distances. This vacuum relay tube, patented in 1898, was reinvestigated with every succeeding war. The power released through sharp electroimpulse, the methods of Tesla, exceeded every radiowave method conceived as weaponry.
With each step in the development of rapid pulse, highpower RADAR, engineers realized their own proximity with the very effects which Tesla had so advocated as the only worthy electrical manifestation worth exploring. As these pulse methods were reaching their state of refinement, engineers found it possible to produce single DC impulses of extraordinary power. Components often ruptured when these explosive electrical applications were employed. Wires exploded. Gaskets and sealed electrodes ruptured. Magnetron tubes, high vacuum vessels, literally exploded. Here was that phenomenon of which Tesla spoke so highly. Here was the force which he so greatly esteemed. These explosive effects were the bizarre results of microsecond power pulses applied to magnetron tubes. The output of these tubes was therefore a train of successive RADAR wave alternations, nearly a thousand alternations per train. If it were possible to concentrate all this applied energy to a single, non-alternating RADAR burst, one would nearly approximate some of the effects of which Tesla later spoke. Attempts made to stimulate single pulse RADAR bursts require switching systems capable of firing prodigious power in equivalent to RADAR half-wave periods, a formidable task.
But there was now no time to stop and study these remarkable effects. The War had its demands. And so the dream, the imagination, the wonder, all were put aside as production went on. The few who took notice, and vowed to pursue the phenomenon which they had observed, very unfortunately became the leaders of a new field of weapons research. Tesla, who was first to advance the discovery of electroimpulse effects, was only devoted to the development of humanly elevating and beneficial applications. Tesla spoke of weaponry only with the emergence of each new war. The several conflicts which provoked his passive discussion of these matters through the Twentieth Century were forever mocked by the press, rejected by the academes, and studied by the military. There were those who observed his use of such beam instruments, notably those assistants who witnessed these powerful beamray tests in Colorado and in Wardenclyffe.
The sizable nuclear weapons bibliography which had been amassed, provided enough data for planners to recognize the new research avenues required by their laboratories. In order to “keep ahead of the competition”, in both Allied forces and hostile nations, military gradually recognized that a multiple approach to modern warfare was now necessary. The nuclear hubris burned itself away, but left a yet needy oligarchy securing favors from the military. These favors requested the development of nonnuclear means of warfare. Military found new opportunity now. RADAR EMP phenomena might provide such means, and could be privatized, developed, and deployed without the jurisdiction of overseers and other taskmasters. An army equipped with RADAR EMP systems could move forward into enemy camps through the haze of destroyed communications equipment and, in the extreme use of the art, over the felled bodies of infantrymen burned by the encounter.
In the existing state of nuclear art, all military activities had been turned over to air squadrons. They were the messengers who would carry the nuclear arsenals into “enemy House” territories. But an EMP assault would return the art of battle to a more controllable and conventional status, a condition now highly desired by ground oriented branches of the military. There were permissions and finances now flowing like wine over every military project. There could be no failure, no impossibilities, no resistance. Former years had not been as kind to the military. Budget allocations were meagre. Military authorities were supposed to plan and provide for the common defense in order to promote the general welfare. These post-War years were different, predicated on nuclear themes of fear and greatest concern for world security. Research on developing both weapons potentials and defense systems could proceed along simultaneous and parallel fronts. A great number of projects could now be developed. The world had grown complex, and military was supplying the most immediate kinds of security now. Moreover the oligarchy was supplying the funds.
- CHAPTER 4
- CHAPTER 6