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. On October 22, 2012, Boeing announced a successful test of the missile. CHAMP took out seven different targets before self-destructing over empty desert.
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.
It’s a non-lethal weapon that is very different from indiscriminate electromagnetic pulse effects normally associated with high-altitude nuclear explosions, she says, and is already at a decent technological maturity level, having been tested in an operational-type environment.
While traditional counter-electronics warfare weapons such as the Navy’s EA-18G Growler, a version of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, seek to jam enemy radar, the CHAMP is meant to destroy them. The Air Force talked up the program at the “Directed Energy to D.C. Exhibition” in the Pentagon courtyard Tuesday.
At Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, the Air Force Research Laboratory has taken a Boeing AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile and rigged it to have the motor feed a high-power microwave to pulse directed energy beams through an antenna to carry out a “functional kill of adversaries’ military electronic and communications systems.”
“It only works now off a B-52,” the bomber that currently carries the AGM-86 cruise missile, said Lt. Nicholas Quartermont of the Air Force Research Laboratory, but the service is also working on adapting the CHAMP system for weapons that can be launched by the F/A-18 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
In 2016, they are refining design of a class of reusable, multi-pulse, multi-target counter-electronics payloads capable of being hosted in various advanced platforms. Characterize, model, test and evaluate red directed energy threats on blue assets. Begin initial preparations for the Next Generation High Power Microwave demonstration.
SOURCES – Wikipedia, Flight Global, global Security, Defense Tech
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