AFRL Tests High-Power Electromagnetic Electronic Warfare and Cyber Weapons

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November 6, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: November 6 on

Air Force officials at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. are working with microwave experts from companies including Raytheon and Booz Allen Hamilton to conduct experiments with high power electromagnetic (HPEM) technology. The work offers the potential to enhance missile defense and electronic warfare capabilities. 

“AFRL will innovate the technology for future warfighter needs,” said Erin Pettyjohn, Deputy Division Chief of the High Power Electromagnetics Division of the Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate.

 “AFRL is pursuing the research, development, application and design of high power microwave systems for non-lethal, non-kinetic weapons.  This will build upon our successes of MAXPOWER, a counter IED system demo, Active Denial System, a counter-personnel (non-lethal) demo system, CHAMP, an airborne counter electronics demo weapon, as well as future capabilities, such as counter-UAS.  AFRL partners with a variety of industry companies for the production of HPM systems,” said Ms. Pettyjohn.

The experiments being conducted explore how features of HPEM—such as carrier frequency, pulse repetition frequency, and incident power density—can determine the ideal ratio for electronic warfare operations. This ideal ratio would maximize the amount of electromagnetic energy that makes it from the HPEM system to the enemy target, according to Raytheon.