Brandon Lewis / Military Embedded Systems & Motley Fool – 2015-08-25 23:53:45
Raytheon EMP Weapon Tested by Boeing, USAF Research Lab
Brandon Lewis / Military Embedded Systems
(August 20, 2015) — Boeing has announced that it successfully tested an electromagnetic pulse missile capable of disabling electronics without affecting structures. The Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) was tested by a Boeing Phantom Works/US Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate team on October 16 at the Utah Test and Training Range.
Firing high-power microwave bursts at a multi-story structure containing electronic systems and devices, the drone-like weapon irreparably disabled the computers and electronics within seven targets in a one-hour period. The cameras recording the operation were also disabled.
CHAMP’s High Power Microwave instrument that provided the disabling EMP blast is a product of Raytheon Ktech, who remotely viewed the operation. Telemetry and data from the test are now being analyzed further.
Though speculation exists surrounding the weapon’s effectiveness against military-hardened electronics, the prospects of its use are bright.
“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” said Keith Coleman, Boeing Phantom Works’ CHAMP Program Manager. “In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.”
The CHAMP program is a three-year endeavor between Boeing and US Air Force Research Laboratory that hopes to eventually produce five such EMP missiles.
Read more on advanced warfare techniques in the blog, “Sixth-generation warfare: Manipulating space and time”.
Boeing Unveils Amazing, Slightly Terrifying
New Electromagnetic Pulse Weapon
(May 24, 2015) — Born into Generation X, I grew up with the threat of nuclear war — and all its corollaries, from visions of mushroom clouds to “duck and cover” drills in high school to Terminator movies, and of course, the ever-present worry that one day a sneaky Soviet satellite would detonate way up in the sky and fry all of our electronics with an “electromagnetic pulse.”
So imagine my surprise when the US Air Force confirmed last week that it’s developed an electromagnetic pulse weapon of its own, and that Boeing (NYSE:BA) is helping to build it.
A CHAMP-ion Ideaâ€¨
The weapon in question: Boeing’s “CHAMP,” short for Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project. It’s essentially the old nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapon that we used to worry so much about — but without the nuclear part.
CHAMP carries a small generator that emits microwaves to fry electronics with pinpoint accuracy. It targets not nations or cities but individual buildings, blacking out their electronics rather than blowing up physical targets (or people).
What makes CHAMP even more interesting is that, unlike a nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapon, which fires once, blacking out entire nation-states, CHAMP can fire multiple times, pinpointing and blacking out only essential targets.
This would permit, for example, taking down radar defenses in a hostile state, while saving the electrical grid that supports the civilian population. In a 2012 test flight in Utah, a single CHAMP was reported to have blacked out seven separate targets in succession, in one single mission.
Even back then, a Boeing representative was able to boast: “We hit every target we wanted to,” predicting further that “in the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.” Three years later, that future has arrived. Air Force Research Laboratory commander Maj. Gen. Tom Masiello says CHAMP is “an operational system already in our tactical air force.”
Who Makes It?
Boeing headlines the CHAMP product, but at least two other companies are known to be involved in the project. According to Military Embedded Systems, it’s actually Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) that builds the electronic innards of the device — the “shooting end” of a weapon that doesn’t actually shoot anyone. (Raytheon’s involvement shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the company’s expertise building complementary weapons, such as its MALD-J radar-spoofing, electronics-jamming drone.)
Additionally, Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) builds the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile — Extended Range (JASSM-ER), which the Air Force intends to use as CHAMP’s delivery mechanism. A cruise missile with an estimated range in excess of 600 miles, JASSM-ER will itself be deployable from combat aircraft such as F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, B-1 and B-52 bombers, and the F-35 stealth fighter — extending CHAMP’s reach even further.
To date, Military Embedded Systems notes that the Air Force Research Laboratory has contracted Boeing to build only five CHAMP devices. But the trend in Pentagon acquisitions projects suggests the Air Force could soon be building these weapons en masse.
From MALD-J radar-jamming drones to Switchblade kamikaze guided rockets and now CHAMP mini-electromagnetic-pulse weapons, the Air Force seems intent on fighting its next war more or less entirely by remote control.
To the extent CHAMP makes that easier for them, I expect it to be a very popular product indeed.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.