New weapon can take out high-value electronic targets with virtually no collateral damage
The United States Air Force (USAF) is now using an electromagnetic weapon that could change how nations go to war. Made by Boeing, the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project – or CHAMP – uses electromagnetic waves to take down an enemy’s electronic infrastructure.
CHAMP was first tested at the USAF’s Utah Test and Training Range in 2012. During the demonstration, the missile followed a preprogrammed flight plan, and was able to bring down the data and electronic subsystems of seven targets by using a series of focused high-energy electromagnetic pulses (EMPs).
Now the USAF has confirmed that the CHAMP missile is in active use, with Air Force Research Laboratory commander Major General Thomas Masiello confirming that the weapon is “an operational system already in our tactical air force”.
In a landscape dominated by electronic communications, CHAMP will save lives by easily eliminating high-value targets without the need for traditional explosives or kinetic methods. Unlike bombing, the microwave energy emitted by the CHAMP is far more precise, leaving the enemy’s electronic infrastructure paralysed well before the tanks roll in.
“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” added Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works. “In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.”