The US military has been researching nonlethal weapons for decades. Indeed, many modern military engagements are fought in crowded urban centers, where a single errant missile or bomb can cause significant collateral damage.
Enter Boeing's CHAMP, an acronym for Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project. The goal? To create a projectile capable of defeating electronic targets with little or no collateral damage. Essentially, CHAMP uses hi power microwaves to disable enemy electronic systems.
Boeing recently confirmed that it conducted a successful test of its CHAMP missile on the Utah Test and Training range. The projectile approached its first target and fired a burst of microwaves into a two-story building. Inside the structure were rows of functioning personal computers and other electronic systems - which were used to gauge the effects of the missile.
Within seconds of the missile flying over its target, PC monitors went dark as did the television cameras set up inside the structure to record the experiment.
"This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare," said 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."
Seven targets were hit using the CHAMP high-power microwaves during the test, which lasted a total of one hour. Researchers are currently analyzing data and telemetry from the above-mentioned test, which should ultimately allow them to increase the effectiveness of CHAMP.