Providing national defenses against EMP attack is thrust of Army research inquiries to industry

ADELPHI, Md., 28 Oct. 2010. U.S. Army researchers are sending out feelers to the U.S. defense industry to locate companies with capabilities and experience to design defenses against the effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) -- a byproduct of an above-ground nuclear explosion. An EMP attack has the potential to kill the electronic power grid and all modern electrically powered devices over a large areas, and threatens to shut down electrical lighting, computers, telephone networks, bank ATMs, factories, motor vehicles, and electric appliances for periods ranging from weeks to more than a year.

ADELPHI, Md., 28 Oct. 2010. U.S. Army researchers are sending out feelers to the U.S. defense industry to locate companies with capabilities and experience to design defenses against the effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) -- a byproduct of an above-ground nuclear explosion.

An EMP attack has the potential to kill the electronic power grid and all modern electrically powered devices over a large areas, and threatens to shut down electrical lighting, computers, telephone networks, bank ATMs, factories, motor vehicles, and electric appliances for periods ranging from weeks to more than a year. An EMP attack in space could kill orbiting satellites and cripple global communications.

The Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM) in Adelphi, Md., issued a source-sought notice (W911QX11R000) to industry Wednesday in an effort to locate companies with EMP-protection experience to participate in a future EMP-hardening initiative called High Altitude Electro Magnetic Pulse (HEMP) and its Hardening Protection Countermeasures.

Army researchers want to find companies able to engineer, design, and implement countermeasures to protect against high-altitude EMP and its effects on communication and/or satellite systems and electrical power systems, as well as conduct analyses of EMP threats to crucial military and civil infrastructure and recommendations to mitigate all vulnerabilities discovered.

Seeking EMP countermeasures experts in industry are officials of the Army Research Lab Sensors and Electron Device Division (SEDD) in Adelphi, Md. Companies that get involved in this project may be asked to work in various locations on the Mid-Atlantic, as well as in Alaska, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region, Army researchers say.

Contractors chosen for the program also may have experience in building pulse current injectors for transient electro magnetic (EM) effects, and/or pneumatic control systems. Companies interested also should be able to design and build retrofits to 10 to 20 existing structures, as well as two existing structures to shield against the effects of EMP.

In addition, the contractor should be able to build pulse current injectors, and have knowledge of MIL-STD-188-125 for fixed facilities and transportable structures is beneficial. If Army researchers move forward with this program, the value of potential contracts could be worth as much as $7 million over five years, officials say.

Army officials caution that this source-sought notice is not a request for proposals or a guarantee of a future solicitation to industry.

Companies interested should send their capabilities and experience in EMP countermeasures no later than 15 Nov. 2010 -- less than three weeks away -- by e-mail to Tammy Wright at the Army Research Lab at tammy.l.wright1@us.army.mil, or by post to U.S. Army Research Lab, 2800 Powder Mill Road, RDRL-SED-P, ATTN Tammy Wright, Adelphi, MD 20783-1197.

For questions or concerns, contact the Army Research Lab's Tammy Wright by phone at 301-394-0045, or Catherine K. McKenna by phone at 301-394-4347, or by e-mail at cayti.mckenna@arl.army.mil.

More information is online at http://www.fbodaily.com/archive/2010/10-October/29-Oct-2010/FBO-02317450.htm.

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