Air Force picks Verus Research for high-power microwaves effects testing for future electromagnetic warfare

Oct. 7, 2022
The project is part of an effort to find a waveform for an effective electromagnetic weapon that is small size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP).

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – U.S. Air Force electromagnetic warfare experts needed a company to perform vulnerability testing on several electronic systems to help determine the effectiveness of potential high-power electromagnetic (HPEM) weapons. They found their solution from XL Scientific LLC, which is doing business as Verus Research, in Albuquerque, N.M.

Officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., announced a $19.5 million five-year contract to Verus Research last month for the High Power Electromagnetics (HPEM) Empirical Effects project.

Verus experts will collect and analyze data from the empirical effects of high-power microwaves against a broad range of electronics, to capture HPEM effects at the device, circuit, and system levels.

The project is part of an effort that seeks to find a waveform for an effective electromagnetic weapon that is small size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP). This weapon is to help validate modeling tools and techniques.

Related: Air Force approaches industry for enabling technologies in high-power electromagnetic and microwave weapons

This testing will involve a plan that describes appropriate instrumentation and sensors, best practices and industry standards, test and measurement approaches, cables, and sensors for the project.

This work will include capturing effects and waveform data, identifying new targets, developing surrogate electronic systems for testing, purchasing representative electronic subsystems, developing fault trees, building probability of effect curves for the electronic subsystems, and planning outdoor effects testing to characterize electromagnetic weapon effectiveness.

Electromagnetic weapons involve high-power microwaves and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) systems that are designed to destroy enemy electronics. The High Power Electromagnetics (HPEM) Empirical Effects project is part of the Air Force's High Power Electromagnetics Modeling and Effects program.

To a lesser degree, the HPEM Empirical Effects project will include research and tools that can help predict the effectiveness of HPEM waveforms by developing and testing of emerging technologies and state-of-the-art HPEM technologies to collect vulnerability data.

Related: Raytheon moves forward with developing electromagnetic weapons for ballistic and hypersonic missile defense

Work will include performing effectiveness modeling, including developing, executing, and validating computational models, to assess the effectiveness and military utility of an HPEM weapon, characterizing collateral damage, developing recuperation time models, and performing trade studies to compare different HPEM weapons.

This work will provide information to develop, identify, and integrate new and existing software and hardware for battle damage assessment and recuperation time, and battle damage indicators for an HPEM engagement.

On this contract Verus Research will do the work in Albuquerque, N.M., and should be finished by September 2027. For more information contact Verus Research online at, or the Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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