3.9 DEW-High Power Microwave (HPM)

3.9.1 Warfighter Needs

The DoD requires improved capabilities in countering artillery fire, ship defense against cruise missiles, aircraft self-protection, suppression of enemy integrated air defense systems, space control, security, counter-proliferation, and disruption or destruction of command and control assets. All of these requirements can be addressed by HPM weapon systems which upset or damage the electronics within the target. HPM weapons offer military commanders the option of:

Coordinated Army, Navy, Air Force and DNA HPM transition plans are focused on demonstrations of mission-oriented concepts: aircraft self protection, anti-ship missile defense, and counter munitions (EW Electronic Attack - degrade/neutralize enemy defenses); and lethal Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) and C2W/IW (Precision Force, MOUT, and IW). Potential Warfighter payoffs include generic protection against a wide variety of missile/munition threats (IR, EO, RF, laser-guided), improved effectiveness and lower attrition rates of friendly systems, and negation (permanent damage, long-term disruption, and temporary degradation) of enemy command, control, and general information systems. Finally, electronic protection techniques developed under the HPM program are being continuously transitioned to users in order to harden US systems against hostile HPM weapons or inadvertent EMI/EMC. Joint development and test projects demonstrate the maximization of investments to meet individual Service/Agency mission requirements.

3.9.2 Overview

3.9.2.1 Goals and Timeframes. Technology development and demonstration efforts are oriented to establish a mature and comprehensive technology basis to support microwave weapon systems development decisions. In many cases, this requires an integrated demonstration of microwave source, pulsed power and antenna subsystems. Major goals and associated time frames include the following:




Application/Mission Short-term
(1-2 years)
Mid-term
(3-5 years)
Long-term
(6+ years)
HPM System for Point Defense. Demo of compact, high-power UWB source. Demo of high average power narrowband source. Live fire cable-car demo. Field demo of high average power narrowband source. Ship-self-defense demo, Countermunition demo.
HPM System for C2W/IW. Effects assessments.Field demo. Airborne demo.
HPM System for SEAD. Demo of compact, high-power narrowband source. Explosively-driven single pulse device demo. Multiple-pulse device demo.
HPM System for Space Control. Effects assessments. Modeling and simulation for concept development. Field demo.


3.9.2.2 Major Technical Challenges. The major technical challenges for HPM weapons include developing and demonstrating:

3.9.2.3 Related Federal and Private Sector Efforts. DoD organizations have primary responsibility for the development and applications of HPM technology. However, both DOE and private sector efforts complement military HPM programs. Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia National Laboratories have HPM source development and effects programs which directly support Service efforts, while the private sector has evolved both independent and cooperative RF effects programs. CRDAs have been initiated to develop and transition improved techniques for measuring electromagnetic interference. The electronics industry as a whole is working closely with the Services to ensure compliance with new international standards for electromagnetic protection.

3.9.3 S&T Investment Strategy

In executing the DoD HPM Program, focus is maintained on specific technology demonstrations, in order that the technology effort at the component level can also be focused. DoD investments among the various technology demonstration and technology development efforts are allocated in accordance with their potential payoff to warfighting needs and their relative contribution to achieving the HPM goals.

3.9.3.1 Technology Demonstrations. HPM weapons encompass a number of technology demonstrations in the field. Major demonstrations support two DTOs:

3.9.3.2 Technology Development. Coordinated Army, Navy, Air Force, and DNA HPM technology developments are subdivided into a number of major constituent areas, these include:

3.9.3.3 Basic Research. Basic research efforts for high power microwaves emphasize the fundamental understanding of the limitations of microwave technology and its application, and investigation of promising new approaches and concepts. Efforts are conducted in RF sources, antennas, and pulsed power systems and in RF effects phenomenology.