China created the world's first microwave weapon using Stirling engines

A group of Chinese scientists announced the development and testing of powerful microwave weapons to destroy drones, aircraft and even satellites. But the most amazing thing is that electricity for it is generated by four Stirling engines installed on the truck.. Thanks to this, the combat platform consumes only 20% of the power required to power alternative energy weapons and can operate continuously for four hours.

Approximate appearance of a Stirling engine. Image Source: CSSC

This is the first open announcement about the creation of a combat microwave complex based on Stirling engines. In China, Stirling engines are being developed for electrical generation in space and confined spaces, such as submarines. These engines operate with a closed volume of the working fluid and are able to use any external heat for this.

In the case of a microwave gun or emitter, four compact Stirling engines mounted on a car platform not only generate electricity, but also act like a refrigerator, removing heat from a superconducting coil — the heart of the gun. The coil generates an electromagnetic field of up to 4 Tesla (tesla). This is 68,000 times the strength of the Earth's magnetic field and only two times weaker than in the bowels of the Large Hadron Collider. The stability and power of the electromagnetic field created by the superconducting coil is the key to the normal operation of such weapons.

The limitation for the operation of Stirling engines was a fairly high permissible lower cooling limit. So, they stop working when 40–50 °C remains below absolute zero.. To combine motors with a superconducting magnetic coil, it was necessary to select materials with high-temperature superconductivity for its winding. In particular, a tape made of ReBCO (rare earth barium copper oxide) material was suitable.

The nuance is that China purchased this American-made tape. In 2018, the US government imposed a ban on the supply of these products to China, and China had to independently create the production of this material. In China, the company Shanghai Superconductor took up this task.. In less than two years, it alone was able to annually produce 400 km of tape, in demand for a whole range of tasks from weapons to reactors and maglevs. By the end of 2024, production capacity will be increased to 2000 km per year. According to Chinese sources, American companies began purchasing this tape in China, abandoning suppliers from the United States and other countries.

Scientists reported their achievement in developing microwave weapons using Stirling engines in an article in the journal High Power Laser and Particle Beams. The development was carried out by a joint team of the Northwestern Institute of Nuclear Technology in Xi'an and the Institute of Electrical Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.. The installation is far from perfect, the developers admit. However, it works and can be improved.