Survivability Against High-Power, Radio Frequency/Microwave, Directed Energy Weapons

Keith Lewis, U.S. Air Force
Keith Lewis, U.S. Air Force

Presented: October 20, 2021 12:00 pm
Presented by: John Tatum

Modern military systems and supporting infrastructure depend upon sensitive semiconductor electronic components to provide their sensing, communications, and weapon system functions. These electronic devices are known to be potentially vulnerable to high-power electromagnetic sources and environments, such as those produced by high-power microwave (HPM), radio frequency, directed energy weapons. HPM is a new form of “non-kinetic” energy weapons threats that systems must face in addition to traditional kinetic energy weapons, such as projectiles, rockets, and missiles. HPM weapons can irradiate a target with sufficient energy to couple the energy into the target’s electronics and produce adverse effects that can range from interference to long-term upset to permanent damage, depending upon the HPM weapon’s power and distance between the weapon and target. Several foreign countries are currently interested in this technology and are fielding weapon systems.

The purpose of this webinar is to discuss how to mitigate the effects of HPM weapons and make systems more survivable. First, we will discuss what HPM weapons are and how they can couple energy into a victim system. Next, we will talk about how the HPM energy can affect typical electronics in terms of temporary electronic upset and permanent damage. We will review the contrasting types of HPM weapons and how they are like electronic warfare/electronic attack systems and electromagnetic pulse in some ways but different in others. We will also examine a methodology for estimating the probability of target failure as a function of a weapon’s power density on target and range using DREAM, the Directed Radio Frequency Energy Assessment Model. Finally, we will go over an example of how to estimate the hardening levels for a notional helicopter and some of the technology and techniques that can be used to enhance its survivability against HPM weapons.

This webinar presentation contains CUI and is therefore limited to government and contractors only.

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