Officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., announced an $11 million contract Wednesday to Verus Research (formerly XL Scientific LLC) to research HPEM effects on analog and digital electronic systems.
Verus experts will perform effects testing on analog and digital electronics, as well as to develop and run computer models to help the Air Force predict the effectiveness of HPEM weapons against electronic targets.
HPEM technology describes a type of directed RF energy that can destroy or disable unshielded electronic systems, similar to how 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.
HPEM effects are of interest to the military for their potential use in information warfare, missile defense, cyber security, and to a variety of future offensive non-lethal weapons able to disrupt enemy computer electronics, telecommunications networks, security systems, aircraft, ships, and land vehicles.
This effort is part of the Air Force High Power Electromagnetics (HPEM) Effects Program, which seeks to advance the state of the art in HPEM technologies for directed-energy weapons, cyber warfare, electronic warfare (EW), electronics-killing weapons, power electronics, and antennas.
The HPEM Effects Program also seeks to characterize the effectiveness of potential HPEM weapons by developing effectiveness tools and generating data on the vulnerability of electronic systems to HPEM signals strong enough to disrupt or kill electronic systems.
In this contract Verus will perform effects testing on digital electronic systems up to the engagement and mission levels that can help predict the effectiveness of HPEM weapons against electronic targets.
Verus experts will collect and analyze HPEM effects on a broad range of electronics at the device, circuit, and system levels, as well as identify targets, buy test electronics, conduct indoor and outdoor tests, and build probability of effect curves for electronic subsystems.
Company experts also will help the Air Force with battle damage assessment of HPEM weapons by developing battle damage indicators for an HPEM engagement, as well as identify state-of-the-art HPEM sources to collect vulnerability data for waveforms to evaluate their effectiveness in future HPEM weapons.
On this contract Verus Research will do the work at the Phillips Research Site at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and should be finished by September 2020. For more information contact Verus Research online at www.verusresearch.net, or the Air Force Research Laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate at www.kirtland.af.mil/Units/AFRL-Directed-Energy-Directorate.
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