Air Force asks Verus Research to develop electronics-killing HPEM technologies for military weapons

June 22, 2017
KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – High-power electromagnetics (HPEM) technology experts at Verus Research in Albuquerque, N.M., are helping the U.S. Air Force find ways of integrating future electronics-killing HPEM technologies onto military weapons platforms.
KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – High-power electromagnetics (HPEM) technology experts at Verus Research in Albuquerque, N.M., are helping the U.S. Air Force find ways of integrating future electronics-killingHPEM technologies onto military weapons platforms.

Officials of the Officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., announced a $2.3 million contract Wednesday to Verus Research (formerly XL Scientific LLC) for part of the High-Powered Electromagnetics (HPEM) Research Program.

HPEM technology describes a type of directed RF energy that can destroy or disable unshielded electronic systems in a similar way that electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from a nuclear explosion can burn-out electronic systems.

Unprotected electronics can malfunction or burn out in the presence of high-power electromagnetic fields. Future non-kinetic HPEM weapons are expected to produce electronics-killing effects similar to those of nuclear EMP, except over relatively small ranges.

Related: Electronics-killing EMP weapons for combat aircraft is focus of $15 million contract to Raytheon

HPEM effects are of interest to the military for their potential application to information warfare, missile defense, cyber security, and to a variety of future offensive non-lethal weapons. Such weapons have the potential to disrupt computer electronics, telecommunications networks, security systems, aircraft, ships, and land vehicles.

This contract to Verus Research involves one component of the HPEM Research Program called HPEM Transition, which will develop concepts for HPEM systems, components, and information -- including the feasibility of integration and development of HPEM technology into a platform.

The overall HPEM Research Program seeks to advance the state of the art in high-power electromagnetics technologies for directed-energy weapons, cyber warfare, electronic warfare (EW), electronics-killing weapons, power electronics, and antennas.

The program, sponsored by the High-Powered Electromagnetics Division of the AFRL Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, has six technical areas: HPEM Transition, which Verus Research is performing; HPEM Cyber/Electronic Warfare (EW) Applications; HPEM Effects; Electromagnetics (EM) Weapons Technology; Numerical Simulation; and NextGen HPEM.

Related: Air Force looking for power sources and antennas for future high-power microwave weapons

In other components of this project, HPEM Cyber/Electronic Warfare (EW) Applications will identify and develop HPEM technologies for the cyber and electronic warfare communities.

HPEM Effects will investigate the effects of HPEM against a broad range of electronics, and develop predictive models for HPEM battle damage.

Electromagnetics (EM) Weapons Technology will move new HPEM technologies into pulsed-power weapons, including developing compact repetitive pulsed-power topologies; investigating high-energy particle beams; and creating weak and strongly ionized plasmas using ultrashort pulse lasers (USPL).

Related: Booz Allen to integrate high-power electromagnetics (HPEM) into cyber and electronic warfare (EW)

Numerical Simulation will develop simulation to help develop modern HPEM systems and the Improved Concurrent Electromagnetic Particle-in-Cell (ICEPIC) software.

NextGen HPEM will develop the source and antenna technologies for HPEM weapons, including broadband high power amplifiers, tunable high power oscillators, and broadband antennas RF effects weapons that work over a broad range of frequencies, pulse lengths, pulse repetition frequencies, and power densities.

For more information contact Verus Research online at, or the Air Force Research Laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate at

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