High Power Microwave Weapons: Disruptive Technology for the Future
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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As the Department of Defense has shifted focus to near-peer competition, there has been a push to field technologies that will offer the United States a strategic advantage. The Air Force Research Lab AFRL has been designing, building, and testing technologies that can provide this advantage, but many have never made it to the operational inventory. One of those technologies is Pulsed-wave High Power Microwaves HPM. HPMS has been in development for over 30 years and has seen significant advancements in the size, weight, and power of the weapon. These weapons started as large ground-based systems, but in 2012 the technology had advanced to the point that AFRL placed it on an airborne platform. Since this technology demonstration, AFRL has continued to pursue advancements in this technology. HPMs also provide an opportunity to revisit an old nuclear targeting strategy, countervalue strikes. HPMs can be used to strike targets that are vital to the survival of the nation while negating collateral damage concerns. These weapons provide a unique capability to deter potential adversariesfrom taking action or compelling them to stop a course of action. These weapons are the type of disruptive technology the US needs to maintain its competitive advantage.
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