Accession Number:



High Power Microwave Weapons: Disruptive Technology for the Future

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Research Paper]

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The United States US has made a dedicated effort to shift focus to a conventional peer-on-peer fight, while still engaging in asymmetric conflicts around the globe. The US needs to have the capability to engage in conflicts across the range of military options. While the military has engaged in low-intensity conflict, its research laboratories, in conjunction with industry, have been pursuing technology that will ensure the US maintains its strategic advantage. In the last few years, there have been several mandates for the Department of Defense DoD to research and field directed energy weapons. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act NDAA mandated the establishment of a program to prototype and demonstrate directed energy weapons DEWs that will guarantee the military superiority of the US. The NDAAs mandate is driving the requirement for the military branches to find ways to transition DEWs to the operational inventory. The Air Force created a Directed Energy Flight Plan, which describes DEWs as a technology that can precisely engage targets of interest with little to no collateral damage or detectible disturbance. These weapons are being called game-changing because of their unique capabilities. DEWs give the US Government options if or when it decides to take action in response to a countries belligerent behavior. Fielding DEWs, more specifically high-powered microwaves HPMs, meets the intent of the 2018 NDAA and is directly in line with the National Defense Strategys NDS goal of increasing joint lethality in contested environments with the use of the non-kinetic precision strike. This study contends that HPMs are viable weapons that have the potential to be deployed in the operational environment in the next five to ten years.

Subject Categories:

  • Radiofrequency Wave Propagation
  • Fire Control and Bombing Systems

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]