Military Embedded Systems

Air Force/Boeing EMP weapon moving forward


June 12, 2015

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

Air Force/Boeing EMP weapon moving forward

The U.S. Air Force's confirmation that they and Boeing are developing the Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP), an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) weapon, that essentially uses microwave energy to render useless all electronics in its "blast" area without causing structural damage, trended all over the Internet last month including a story we posted three years ago on

To read that post, titled "Raytheon EMP weapon tested by Boeing, USAF Research Lab," click here.

CHAMP became a hot topic last month after Flight Global reporter James Drew reported that Maj. General Thomas Masiello, head of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) had nominated the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM-ER) from Lockheed Martin as the optimal air vehicle to carry CHAMP.

Drew reported that Masiello said the technology is mature and will be miniaturized for the JASSM-ER. According to Flight Global Maseillo, while speaking at a science and technology exposition at the Pentagon said CHAMP is "an operational system already in our tactical air force, and that is really what will make us more operationally relevant. Both the major commands and the combatant commands are very interested in that weapon system. It’s a non-kinetic effect.” To read the Flight Global story, click here.

“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” said Keith Coleman, Boeing Phantom Works' CHAMP Program Manager in a Boeing video on the CHAMP test in 2012. “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.”

"We're not quite not up to the place where the Star Trek and Star Wars movies are, but this is definitely an advancement in technology to be able to give us an opportunity to do things that we couldn’t do before," said Peter Finlay, AFRL CHAMP Lead Test Engineer, in the Boeing video.

To view the Boeing video, click here.

CHAMP's High Power Microwave instrument that provided the disabling EMP blast in the 2012 test is a product of Raytheon Ktech, who remotely viewed the operation. Telemetry and data from the test are now being analyzed further. The CHAMP program is a three-year endeavor between Boeing and U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory that hopes to eventually produce five such EMP missiles.

For more fun details on CHAMP, read the Motley Fool's coverage. Thanks as well to their editorial team for linking to our 2012 story.


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