The world of metals is a fascinating one unto itself.
With an array of interesting properties, they form an important aspect of the modern world.
Of the many elements that exist in the elemental chart, one of the most obscure and at the same time important is tungsten.
Grayish-white metal, tungsten is used for a variety of purposes today, ranging from electrical circuits to welding, and more.
In addition to the positives, there also happens to be the negatives as well, namely, that of weaponization. As with every other aspect of science that man has discovered, the element tungsten has also been subjected to weaponization and in the process attain destructive abilities. To find out more about tungsten, click here.
Science fiction has always had many potent uses for tungsten metal. But when that science fiction became science fact, it was the moment when one could say that the world entered a new era.
In recent times, there has been a great deal of speculation with regard to the destructive use of tungsten. Given its mass and density, it has been a prime candidate for advanced weapons, which has so far only existed in the realm of science fiction.
The exact ‘misuse’ being referred to here, is its ability to be weaponized and used in what is called ‘kinetic weapons’. The term ‘kinetic’ is a reference to speed, because of the speed at which these weapons can strike potential targets.
Placed at orbital, they can be used to attack and destroy enemy targets with a few minutes and is a lot faster than conventional weapons such as ballistic missiles. In effect, they could prove to be far more effective than almost any ballistic missile, and perhaps even serve as their eventual replacement weapon system.
The exact functioning of the weapon system is fairly easy to understand.
The technology uses some simple and basic physics to achieve its deadly potential. It starts off as nothing more than a simple and solid piece of tungsten, placed in the earth’s orbit.
High above the earth, the weapon system, nicknamed ‘Rods from God’ by some, is in the perfect position to strike at targets before they are even ready.
When activated, a large tungsten rod is released from the weapon platform in space onto its target, which may be anything from a military formation to entire cities.
While it may not seem like much that a simple tungsten rod can cause such a high amount of damage, the reality is very different. It has to do with the speed at which it enters the earth and lands on its potential targets.
Once released from its weapons platform, there is nothing that can stop the tungsten rod from reaching the earth. With a near free-fall speed and a small radar cross-section, it is simply impossible to detect it at all. And even if detected, there is no defense system on earth that could prevent an object free-falling from orbital heights at such high speeds. The actual speeds achieved, would be about 8 kilometers per second in orbit and 3 kilometers per second or Mach 10 at impact.
On hitting its target, the scale of the damage will certainly vary. In the case of smaller projectiles, the damage would be similar to a large conventional bomb or perhaps that of a tactical nuke. In the case of larger rods however, the destructive potential would be similar to that of a ballistic nuke, capable of wiping out anywhere from a few city blocks to entire cities.
The weapon system has gained a great deal of interest in military purposes for one simple reason, which is its non-radioactive destruction. For a while, the most destructive weapons on earth would release a great deal of radioactivity into the surrounding environment, making everything very messy and deadly.
Kinetic weapons, on the other hand, have the ability to provide all of the destructive potentials, without the ‘side-effects’ of nuclear weapons. In other words, one could describe kinetic weapons as being similar to nuclear weapons, without the radiation, fallout and other associated problems.
Last but not least, it should be noted that although these weapon systems seem rather futuristic and interesting, they are largely in their development stages.
And although there are speculations that they have been used in real life, these are not confirmed in any way. If anything, they can be relegated to the world of conspiracy theories rather than being something real.
But for the sake of world peace and security, it would be a good idea to relegate such weapon systems to the realm of science fiction and be done with. There are more than enough weapons of mass destruction on the planet already, to add one more to the vast arsenal.