This document introduces applications and research opportunities associated with the controlled breakdown i.e., ionization of selected regions of the atmosphere. United States Air Force interest in this area originated in 1986 under Project Forecast II, a far-reaching effort to exploit revolutionary technologies for enhancing the Air Forces Mission capabilities into the 21 st Century. One such technology identified was the so-called Artificial Ionospheric Mirror AIM, a concept to employ a ground-based, very high power, microwave transmitter to create localized patches of ionization mirrors in the atmosphere, which could be used as reflectors of radar signal for over-the- horizon surveillance. In the course of research to assess the viability of the AIM concept, interactions with a variety of DoD and civilian agencies, as well as with scientists from various disciplines, have made the prospective benefits of such research clear. There is growing consensus that development of an experiment research facility to produce controlled breakdown of the atmosphere would provide many unique research opportunities and some potentially revolutionary applications. This short report summarizes some of these that key organizations and interested scientists have suggested.
Scientific rept., no. 2
Original contains color plates: All DTIC reproductions will be in black and white. DOI: 10.21236/ADA278584