Recently, I burnt my hair whilst experimenting with a small quantity of (non-explosive) energetic material. My hair was approximately 1m from the heat source, while my arms and fingers (in electrican's gloves, trashed) was intermediate in distance. Despite the proximity of my arms to the heat source, the exposed skin on my arm was fine while my hair got burnt. Why? The reason is because when exposed to a radiant heat source, objects with a high illuminated surface area to volume ratio experience the greatest heating. This is because the illuminated surface area governs the heat absorption, while the volume is related to the thermal mass of the object. This interesting observation makes plain the vulnerability of a plethora of objects with a high surface area:mass ratio, particularly active/passive sensors, comms, aerodynamic surfaces, etc. Consider a plain cylindrical antenna. While it is possible to reduce the vulnerability of such an antenna to fragments and blast waves by reducing its length or diameter, its vulnerability to heat flux actually increases with decreasing size (1/R relationship). A common theme among modern and anticipated military hardware are improvements in C4ISTAR and network centric capabilities. Being able to field weapons that would consistently blind/mute these capabilities in a broad variety of existing and future targets (including EMP hardened) would be a disruptive evolution in weapons technology. Furthermore, it is not economical or even practical to harden some military hardware against heat shock weapons, e.g. aerodynamic surfaces. Not only are high surface area:mass ratio components vulnerable, so are geometries which form said components - e.g. a sharp edge will heat up faster than the bulk of a component. So wing/rotor trailing edges and ERA tiles (because the explosives we are trying to cook off are staggered at an angle within the plane of the tile) are additionally vulnerable. Examples of possible targets: Armoured vehicles: Tanks, APCs, IFVs, etc. Vulnerabilities: communications equipment, sensors, explosive reactive armour tiles, main and secondary gun barrels Outcomes: loss of communication capabilities, blinded sensors (e.g. active defence radars), ignition and cook-off of ERA tiles, ignition of exposed fuel tanks or ammunition, distortion of gun barrels to outright destruction of weapon systems Rockets/missiles Vulnerabilities: trailing command wires (if applicable), control surfaces, casing, sensors (if applicable) Outcomes: loss of control or aerodynamics, cook-off of propellant or energetics, blinded sensors Naval vessels: skiffs, destroyers, carriers or submarines Vulnerabilities: Comm and sensor arrays, gun and non VLS-missile tubes. Asymmetric loss of displacement by detonation of a thermal shock weapon under the hull resulting in flash boiling of water. Outcomes: loss of hull integrity, leaks, degradation of capabilites,mission-kill. If the radiant warhead pierces the hull and goes off within the vessel - onboard fires, cook off and extensive destruction of equipment and structure is likely. Aircraft: helicopters, planes Vulnerabilities: aerodynamic surfaces, armaments, external fuel tanks Outcomes: delamination of composite surfaces, fuel leaks/fires, cook-off, blinding of pilots Humans Vulnerabilities: corneas, exposed skin Outcomes: blindness, incapacitation, death. How does one achieve such temperatures in a practical non-nuclear weapon system? Marketing blurb: I happen to have some solutions to that, if I find a suitable sponsor for proof-of-concept work to investigate this entirely new, exciting class of weapons (Arrse has been very helpful in putting me in touch with the right people). Suffice to say if we can agree on the principle and the physics, we can then work on the engineering of it. For now though let's look at the potential of high temperature, thermal shock weapons. I have already described how such a weapon has broad spectrum capability against a variety of targets. What is also very interesting is that if battlefield sources of intense heat could be deployed, the effectiveness of such weapons are clearly defined by physical laws. For example, decay of the radiant heat from a point source is inversely proportional to the radius squared. If aimed at a main gun barrel or threads, crippling of the tank and a mission kill is likely. If aimed at a distance further away from the tank, cookoff of ERA tiles, blinding of sensors and burning off of antennae are likely. Therefore, weapons based on radiant heat would be both multi-target and multi-role, capable of engaging a wide variety of targets across the entire force escalation spectrum.