Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project
|Type||counter-electronics directed energy weapon (experimental)|
|Place of origin||United States|
|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 by means of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse).
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 may be 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.
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. On 14 May 2015, the Air Force nominated the Lockheed Martin JASSM-ER as the optimal air vehicle to carry the CHAMP payload. CHAMP is capable of up to 100 shots per sortie.
In 2013, Raytheon demonstrated a ground-based air defense high-powered microwave system derived from CHAMP technology, disabling electronics on small UAVs. The demonstrator resembles the active denial system non-lethal crowd control device, including its reflector and steering mirror. It is integrated with radar automated tracking. Services and agencies have expressed interest in the technology to disable small UAVs infringing on sensitive sites. Although the current prototype measures 6 m (19.7 ft), the company has designed a system half the size that can deliver the same capability.
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- USAF nominates JASSM missile to host new computer-killing weapon - Flightglobal.com, 14 May 2015
- ANALYSIS: Defence firms get creative at Air Warfare Symposium - Flightglobal.com, 25 February 2016
- Raytheon pitches CHAMP derivative for air defence - Flightglobal.com, 21 June 2016
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