It was designed to prevent explosive shockwaves from harming a target. That means the shockwaves will be deflected, but a shell or grenade shrapnel could still easily pass through the field.
“Explosive devices are being used increasingly in asymmetric warfare to cause damage and destruction to equipment and loss of life. The majority of the damage caused by explosive devices results from shrapnel and shock waves”
This is a patent for what is called a shockwave attenuation system that consists of a sensor and an arc generator. The sensor detects a shockwave then sends a signal to the generator which in turn will ionize a small area in the vicinity of the shockwave creating a protective plasma field. The plasma field would act as a buffer to dampen, deflect or possibly absorb the shockwave.
The patent covers several alternative possible scenarios including using laser induced plasma generators or generating a magnetic arc using laser or microwaves transmission
This system is currently only good for a small area at a time and would also be inefficient for a series of attacks. An ionized field can not completely surround an individual or item because it has been determined, in a study last year, that it would deflect light leaving those withing in it effectively blind. The ionization process also produces heat which would be contained within an enclosed field field, potentially cooking those it was intended to protect.
Currently this is only a patent and a theory, we don’t know how far along Boeing is or if this patent is just to protect their interests.
If this does develop further and it deflects or absorbs the shockwave will they use that energy to generate a counter attack laser?