Boeing CHAMP weapon passes test in sci-fi style (w/ Video)

Oct 27, 2012 by Nancy Owano report
Boeing CHAMP weapon passes test in sci-fi style
This artist's rendering shows a CHAMP flying over a target

(Phys.org)—The Boeing "non-kinetic" missile passed its test flight earlier this month. The company reported that CHAMP, which stands for Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project, has proven its ability to defeat electronic targets "with little or no collateral damage." Translation: CHAMP can zap an enemy's electronics and data systems via fired bursts of high-power microwaves structures with little to no harm to people or buildings. The test was carried out in the Western Utah desert. Team members from Boeing, the US Air Force, and Raytheon KTech, suppliers of the microwave source, watched the performance on a television monitor.

"We're not quite up to the place where the 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars' movies are," said a test engineer, but this is definitely an advancement, he added. The missile successfully defeated electronic targets. The purpose of the sixty-minute test was to confirm that CHAMP is capable of "degrading and defeating" electronics inside the test buildings. CHAMP is designed for selective high-frequency radio wave strikes against numerous targets during a single mission.

"CHAMP approached its first target and fired a burst of High Power Microwaves at a two-story building built on the test range," said the Boeing statement. "Inside rows of personal computers and electrical systems were turned on to gauge the effects of the powerful . Seconds later the PC monitors went dark," which marked success. The television cameras that the team had set up to record the test also went off line. Seven targets were hit using the 's microwaves.


Such tests indicate an interest in newer weapons and a newer type of battlefield. Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works, said, "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."

In a paper about high-power microwaves written for the Center for Strategy and Technology at Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, in 2000, changes were already recognized in a modern battlefield deploying different types of weapons. "Except for the standard rifle, gun, knife, or grenade, virtually all military equipment contains some electronics," said the report.

As military research labs have shown, high-power microwave technologies can upset and destroy the electronics within military and commercial systems. The paper said that "Several high-power microwave technologies have matured to the point where they are now ready for the transition from engineering and manufacturing development to deployment as operational weapons." The study concluded that "high-power microwave technology is ready for the transition to active weapons in the U.S. military."

This month's test drives that home all the more. "Today we turned science fiction into science fact," Coleman said. CHAMP is a multiyear, joint capability technology demo that includes ground and flight tests.

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User comments : 35

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_ilbud
2.2 / 5 (18) Oct 27, 2012
America continues along on its insane war with reality, blowing money it doesn't have on crap that will never be used.
210
2.1 / 5 (11) Oct 27, 2012
There has been the possibility, looming, that a cyber-exploit could lead to a real-war. Primarily because, there was no precise way to end the cyber threat without removing the building or home or location from which the threat emanated. CHAMP has the potential to change that scenario.
Perhaps the finished product will have great stealth as well and carry a terminal explosive as a component of last resort; buried infrastructure (still minimize collateral damage if it is buried).
The world we live in, is changing, faster and faster, while base humanity remains the same over all.
We can't even stop our children from bullying and threats (Amanda Todd). How can we make it to the, to THAT future, that better humanity and best human culture we reached for back in the 1960s?? The inertia is within, inside we humans. everything is speeding up becoming more efficient at what it does, approaching the point where human desire becomes superfluous even, an after thought. Where are we going?
word
Davey
4.8 / 5 (16) Oct 27, 2012
And so the new trend in Architecture: Faraday cages for all.
210
1.6 / 5 (12) Oct 27, 2012
And so the new trend in Architecture: Faraday cages for all.

And if you start now, about 10% of the buildings in New York, Moscow, Beijing, Singapore, London, Botswana will have these cages by the year 2525.

word to ya muthas
Manitou
not rated yet Oct 27, 2012
Isn't it relatively easy to shield against microwave radiation? After all, we can use electronics right next to our kitchen microwave oven.

How old is that video with all those tube monitors?

The cameras were taken out later. Does this mean they were partly shielded?
BikeToAustralia
2 / 5 (17) Oct 27, 2012
The USA is the biggest military threat to humanity and life on Earth. How do we protect Earth, our home, from ourselves? Guerrilla warfare or terrorists are not fought against with expensive toys like these, but instead by earning trust, becoming valued allies and friends; becoming family.

What good is all this external hardware when our internal software is so outdated? It would be wiser to grow wiser. We humans are as children. We need to grow up and learn to behave.
Eikka
2 / 5 (8) Oct 27, 2012
The cameras were taken out later. Does this mean they were partly shielded?


Probably just means they faked it. CRTs and monitors in general are easy to knock out because they go blank when they lose signal sync. If you have large mains power cables running close to your monitor, you sometimes get the same effect.

It doesn't mean the computers crashed, which is probably why the camera kept running as well until they turned it off. The EMI burst should have caused massive distortion in the CCD sensor of the camera if it was able to affect it at all.

For example: http://www.youtub...o72f4e6k

The horizontal white bars you see just before the lightning strikes are caused by EMI. Even ordinary consumer electronics are shielded from it by virtue of having EMI shields for outgoing radiation. The camera's sensor isn't shielded, so it picks up the radio noise coming from the lightning, and should have picked up the noise coming from this experiment as well.
mountain_team_guy
2.1 / 5 (14) Oct 27, 2012
The USA is the biggest military threat to humanity and life on Earth. How do we protect Earth, our home, from ourselves? Guerrilla warfare or terrorists are not fought against with expensive toys like these, but instead by earning trust, becoming valued allies and friends; becoming family.

What good is all this external hardware when our internal software is so outdated? It would be wiser to grow wiser. We humans are as children. We need to grow up and learn to behave.


HAHAHA, I needed that. Thanks for the relief. But, seriously.. You gotta try venturing outside the bubble you live in. War is a fact of life. Always has been. Always will be. And what if we do? Will Earth care whether we live in perpetual peace or perpetual war? Either way we are overpopulating. Either way we all die. At least war drives the advance of technology and human evolution. Heart or head, which one drives you?
axemaster
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 27, 2012
Well, that just means people will be putting Faraday cages around their secret bases. As usual: massively expensive weapon / dirt cheap solution.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (9) Oct 27, 2012
After all, how do you want to defeat the country full of partisans, who are prepared to kill you at place, whenever you leave the safety of your high-tech weapons? This strategy was already proven ineffective in Vietnam or Afghanistan. The only working strategy here is to cover the country with rain of bombs, which will persist there for years (Laos) and make it inhabitable in the same way, like the usage of nuclear weapons.
sstritt
3.5 / 5 (11) Oct 27, 2012
I want one of these for my car so I can knock out the obnoxiously loud bass of the idiot next to me!
kevinrtrs
1.3 / 5 (8) Oct 27, 2012
If it's ready for deployment it means that there's a defensive strategy in place already. So the enemy would like to know just what that entails.
evropej
3.3 / 5 (12) Oct 27, 2012
I love the Faraday cage argument, it shows that people dont have an engineering background. This weapon is intended as a counter measure for electronics used in defense systems. In order for those systems to observe intruders in their airspace, they cannot be in a Faraday cage. Its nice seeing development of technology, there is hope there are still technical jobs left in the US.
Eikka
2.8 / 5 (8) Oct 27, 2012
In order for those systems to observe intruders in their airspace, they cannot be in a Faraday cage.


All the equipment except the sensors themselves can be housed in faraday cages.

That means you can temporarily blind a radar or jam a radio tower by shooting a microwave beam at its antennas, but you aren't doing anything to the actual equipment. Once the transmitting UAV has been shot down, they resume operation.

Furthermore, a faraday cage can be designed to be transparent to some frequencies and not others. If the intention is to blind your communications by flooding them with microwave noise, a faraday cage is effectively like putting sunglasses on.
RobL
2.1 / 5 (7) Oct 27, 2012
This kind of weapon would probably only be effective on civilian 'comercial' grade electronics. Most if not all military equipment( especially the gear in orbit ) is Radiation hardened, doubt this would be cost effective or useful against a modern military foe. So i suppose my point is this looks like an incredible useful weapon to use against a militia style military or 'poor peoples' army.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (9) Oct 27, 2012
Wrap your electronics in aluminum foil. The US will need another technology to steal your money under the pretense of "terrorism," which in actuality done by the US or Israel in 95% of the cases. You don't matter anyway the US is all about tracking down their people's wealth for stealing using you as a foil. This was always the goal of the Trilateral Commission and they won with their 9/11. Psychiatry declares nonconformists and anarchists as suffering from Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), so opposition is systematically destroyed as was in CCCP. US storytelling is so blatantly beyond the pale of reason it's clearly a lost cause.

There are real terrorists and they walk the streets of America unfettered bragging of their kills in their own language but homo security is more interested in feeling up your children.
Oysteroid
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2012
I want one of these for my car so I can knock out the obnoxiously loud bass of the idiot next to me!

Aim for the engine and knock out his EFI instead. Or, if it's a mountain road, go for his brakes control.
Quarky1
5 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2012
The only defense is to strip naked and slather yourself with a liberal coating of salted butter. This assists the browning process and gives you a crunchy, cripsy skin. ;-P
Quarky1
5 / 5 (3) Oct 28, 2012
Wrap your electronics in aluminum foil. The US will need another technology to steal your money under the pretense of "terrorism," which in actuality done by the US or Israel in 95% of the cases. You don't matter anyway the US is all about tracking down their people's wealth for stealing using you as a foil. This was always the goal of the Trilateral Commission and they won with their 9/11. Psychiatry declares nonconformists and anarchists as suffering from Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), so opposition is systematically destroyed as was in CCCP. US storytelling is so blatantly beyond the pale of reason it's clearly a lost cause.

There are real terrorists and they walk the streets of America unfettered bragging of their kills in their own language but homo security is more interested in feeling up your children.


Whoa there, fella! Save all that tin foil for your hat, wouldn't want to let in any stray mind-control beams, now! ;-P
SuicideSamurai
5 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2012
It always seems that a lot of comments are from people who havent read the article. Just the headline.

MOST of the infrastructure around the world is unhardened. Therefore this weapon will work on MOST of the infrastructure around the world. Imagine if you worked at a power substation and suddenly all the computers went dark. Or if you'd like how much of the infrastructure running, say... the chinese stock exchange is hardened?

The list of uses for this weapon are endless, as is the list of absolute ignorant idiots trying to make themselves look better by fallaciously pointing out "flaws" that Im sure even a first year engineering working on this stuff would see and deal with.
TechnoCore
5 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2012
Feels like this primarily be used as a covert operations, like when you do not want anyone but know what happen? Otherwise you would just send in a regular missile and blow the target up?

And as evropej said, you cannot wrap detection equipment like radar in a faraday cage.

I thought it was really interesting when I did my military service in the (Swedish) navy. When we practiced surface attack scenarios against other ships you could never use radar in practice. Since all ships passively listens for radar sweeps, and several ships can easily triangulate the position of a radar, you always go radar-silent. So you need visual confirmation or you gamble and sweep a sector with a split second radar-beam to see if you find something. If you do, you immediately fire a robot to that spot, and run away from where you are as fast as you can, since enemy will have done the same. It is basically back to pre-electronic warfare.
Burnerjack
3.9 / 5 (7) Oct 28, 2012
Quarky is right. There is no terrorism. Islam is NOT at war with the West as well as everything and everyone outside of Islam, despite the lessons of History.
Bike to Australia is also right:War is an American Invention designed to subjugate the proletariat. Why, if we just lay down our arms and accept the yoke of captivity as our enemies would have it, why, there would be peace on Earth right?
But then, what if we Don't want to be enslaved or allowed our Freedoms? Back to that "war thing"...
What if EVERY nation and People on Earth accepted that Freedom is a concept so ingrained into our DNA that we are and always be willing to die for the next generation to have it and no one has the power or right, whether deemed from a deity or by design to deny it from anyone. Wouldn't THAT also guarantee a peaceful AND free world as well?

axemaster
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 28, 2012
I love the Faraday cage argument, it shows that people dont have an engineering background. This weapon is intended as a counter measure for electronics used in defense systems. In order for those systems to observe intruders in their airspace, they cannot be in a Faraday cage. Its nice seeing development of technology, there is hope there are still technical jobs left in the US.

Just stick an optoisolator in the line between the antenna and the electronics, then put the electronics in a Faraday cage, and presto! EM burst immune radar system.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (6) Oct 28, 2012
Wrap your electronics in aluminum foil.
Whoa there, fella! Save all that tin foil for your hat, wouldn't want to let in any stray mind-control beams, now! ;-P
Try wrapping your phone in aluminum foil and then call it, you retard.
VendicarD
1 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2012
I love the way the Boeing released a cartoon to show the effectiveness of it's vaporware.

It reminds me of Colon Powell showing a cartoon slide show as evidence to the U.N. of Saddam's possession of WMD.

The world laughed at Powell's cartoon evidence.

Americans were convinced, many apparently confusing the drawings for photographs of the real thing.

Frostiken
1 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2012
How old is that video with all those tube monitors?

They likely used old computers because one, most of the computers around the world are pretty old, and two, it's cheap. There's been nothing about PCs that's changed in the last few decades that would suddenly make this weapon not able to affect a recent build. Power supplies are the same, motherboards are the same... if anything, the newer a computer the more sensitive and easier to take out it becomes due to the lower voltage tolerances.
Moebius
2.1 / 5 (7) Oct 28, 2012
America continues along on its insane war with reality, blowing money it doesn't have on crap that will never be used.


Lot of ones on this comment. Lot of stupid people who aren't smart enough to know we are killing ourselves and our future with military spending. Politicians are crying because defense spending cuts are going to hurt the economy. Am I the only one that sees something wrong with an economy based on war? If we have an economy based on a military-industrial ethic, we MUST use those weapons. It's no wonder everyone hates us, and it's only going to get worse because we won't get smart.
VendicarD
not rated yet Oct 29, 2012
Conservative Americans think that this is the opening to a documentary.

http://www.youtub...AKj3Gl1E

Face it. It is vastly more credible that Colon Powell's presentation to the U.N. on Iraq's non-existent WMD.
El_Nose
not rated yet Oct 29, 2012
It's not that we must use weapons... we make them create better ones and sell last years models to our friends. Our enemies can't come close in competition and thus sovergnty is assured.

Remember the first role of government is to protect its borders and interests.

As far as empires go, the US is in a comfortable place... we are almost unattackable. There is no defense for asymmetric weapons, so only deterrents for those are employed.

If a weapon like this is released to the media, then it is probably one-two generation(s) behind what is actually in the field. And three generation behind what is in the lab.

It is easier to maintain dominance by making videos of what your weapons can do, than actually firing them.

It was claimed that Iraq was a threat, until they attempted to defend themselves and they realised how superior our military is.

Let the world watch us overwhelm, to prevent real war.
dirk_bruere
not rated yet Oct 31, 2012
Vircator
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Nov 08, 2012
There's been nothing about PCs that's changed in the last few decades that would suddenly make this weapon not able to affect a recent build. Power supplies are the same, motherboards are the same...


The monitor is different. LCDs are less finicky about the signal because they're digital devices. Analog CRTs are very easy to mess with, and that's what you saw in the video: the monitors went blank, the machines kept working.

One of the machines even gets a brief re-sync on the signal and shows the windows desktop before going blank again, showing that nothing really happened.

Most modern devices are EMI hardened because of one simple reason: they are not permitted to emit microwave radiation that could interfere with wireless transmissions. The parts of the circuit that would be most sensitive to EMI are all shielded.
spiker555
not rated yet Nov 14, 2012
the problem i can see is what keeps governments with that technology and stealth delivery systems from destroying competitive enterprises? China Industry gets to big, lets zapp the buggers and send them back to the stone ages! That's what is a scary thought as it would inevitably trigger a robust response.
RFRules
not rated yet Nov 27, 2012
What about sacrificial bow-tie dipoles covering the uwave range expected as use as protection by having the dipoles become vaporized or become plasma that would absorb and reflect incident radiation?
daveca
not rated yet Nov 27, 2012
This is NOT new tehnology, its 15 years old or better.

Dont ask..

Yes, optics are immune.
daveca
not rated yet Nov 27, 2012
It always seems that a lot of comments are from people who havent read the article. Just the headline.

MOST of the infrastructure around the world is unhardened.



The rest is underground or flying with fiber optics links.

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