US Air Force Moves Forward with High-Power Microwave Weapon

Major general Thomas Masiello says the technology, which fries electronic equipment with bursts of high-power microwave energy, is mature and will be miniaturised to suite the JASSM-ER.

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CHAMP payloads are scalable and can be packed in different types of delivery systems. The effector, a coil and capacitor, are designed to release very high electromagnetic peak power at a very short time, disabling electronic equipment without causing any damage to other infrastructure.

One of the displays at the Pentagon Lab Day yesterday was the Air Forces’ Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapon developed by Boeing under the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP). AFRL has tested the weapon in 2012, using an AGM-86 Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile used as a surrogate vehicles the Air Force has now selected the stealthy, long-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM-ER) as the optimal air vehicle to carry the CHAMP weapon.

“The capability is real … and the technology can be available today…”

The research laboratory tested the counter-electronics device on the cruise missile at a military test range in Utah, where it successfully shut down a room full of computers. The effect similar to the electromagnetic pulse from a high-altitude nuclear explosion.

Major general Thomas Masiello says the technology, which fries electronic equipment with bursts of high-power microwave energy, is mature and will be miniaturised to suite the JASSM-ER.

“The capability is real … and the technology can be available today,” The Air Force Research Laboratory commander Maj. Gen. Tom Masiello said. “That’s an operational system already in our tactical air force,” Masiello says at the science and technology exposition held at the Pentagon yesterday.