Air Force shops for high-power microwave technologies

The Air Force is surveying industry for high-power microwave (HPM) technologies that could be incorporated into unmanned aerial vehicles, bombs and cruise missiles, according to a request for information published on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site today.

The Defense Department is experimenting with HPM technologies for a number of applications. Targeted microwaves with sufficient power can disable or destroy electronic systems found in much of today’s military gear.

“High-power microwaves have a potential in command [and] control warfare, in suppressing enemy air defenses, and against tactical or unmanned aerial vehicles,” states a 2002 fact sheet on HPM research issued by the Air Force Research Laboratory. “The low collateral damage aspect of the technology makes high-power microwave weapons useful in a wide variety of missions where avoiding civilian casualties is a major concern.”

The Air Force is looking for technologies at various stages of maturity. The request for information dubs as “immediate capabilities” those technologies that could be used in weapon systems with little effort. Another category, called “near-term” capabilities, includes systems that could be weaponized within one year; “transitionable capabilities" are those requiring more time, according to the notice.

The military already is using HPM technology in a nonlethal weapon called Active Denial System. The weapon works by emitting a directed beam of millimeter wave energy toward people, causing an extremely painful burning sensation without physical injury.

According to the request for information, the industry survey effort is geared toward boosting the air services' counterelectronics capabilities — not harming people or damaging buildings.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.