Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project

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CHAMP
Type counter-electronics directed energy weapon (experimental)
Place of origin United States
Production history
Manufacturer Boeing Defense, Space & Security

The Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) is a joint concept technology demonstration led by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base to develop an air-launched directed-energy weapon capable of incapacitating or damaging electronic systems.[1]

On October 22, 2012, Boeing announced a successful test of the missile.[2] CHAMP took out seven different targets before self-destructing over empty desert.[3][4]

The U.S. Air Force expects to have technology for a steerable counter-electronics weapon “available” in 2016, when a multi-shot, multi-target, high-power microwave (HPM) package will be tested aboard an AGM-86 ALCM. By the mid-2020s, HPM weapons are expected to be integrated onto a "JASSM-ER-type weapon," and on small reusable platforms like the F-35 Lightning II and unmanned aerial vehicles. HPM weapons are not yet a program of record, but they are desired in situations where one target building needs to be engaged and shut down, while not affecting the buildings around it. Other potential improvements could include increasing autonomy and putting it on hypersonic missiles.[5]

The CHAMP is superior to other electronic warfare weapons because it destroys electronics, rather than jamming which temporarily affects systems that come back online when it stops being applied. The Air Force has two separate "capability portfolios" for weapons and electronic warfare equipment which have been having trouble joining to produce an operational CHAMP system, so a cross-functional study is to be delivered in summer 2015. Congress has suggested repurposing excess cruise missiles demilitarized under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to turn them into CHAMP weapons without violating it.[6]

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