We noticed that the Boeing CHAMP non-nuclear EMP missile is back in the news after first surfacing following U.S. Air Force (USAF) Research tests in Wendover, Utah in October, 2012. CHAMP stands for Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile. Yesterday, Digital Journal reported CHAMP’s official announcement by the USAF, “Boeing debuts powerful electromagnetic pulse weapon”:
The main development of CHAMP comes from Boeing, and it appears the project has been underway for several years. The system draws power from a microwave-emitting generator capable of killing electronics with a much higher accuracy rate. Rather than targeting entire blocks or even cities, the CHAMP targets only specific buildings.
In addition to its accuracy, it’s also got another advantage; it can fire multiple times, unlike previous EMP devices that can only be used once at a time. In theory, the CHAMP could quickly take out several targeted buildings in rapid succession.
CHAMP is actually the result of three companies’ work. Besides Boeing, Raytheon helped build the system’s inner electronic workings, and Lockheed Martin built a special surface-to-air missile that delivers CHAMP to its targets. Called the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile — Extended Range (JASSM-ER), it has a range of at least 600 miles and can be used by B-1 and B-52 bombers, F-15 and F-16 and the F-35 stealth fighter.
In a single test mission in Utah, CHAMP successfully blacked out all seven of its targets in a single flight. It clearly impressed the U.S. Air Force, as it’s apparently already in use in tactical forces.
Watch this YouTube video of the Air Force Research Lab test of the Boeing CHAMP missile from October 2012:
An Iconoclast post on October 28, 2012 showed Boeing video of a successful test of a CHAMP missile knocking out a bank of computers. We wrote:
Israel could have a new unconventional capability given Boeing’s development of a new cruise missile the CHAMP that could produce high energy non-nuclear EMP effects to take out electronics. Note this recent Digital Journal report, “New cruise missile will fry electronic targets, change warfare”.
The successful test of a U.S.-directed energy weapon hints at a change in the frequency and impact of future warfare. The new missile proved it can fry an enemy’s electronics using radio waves.
On October 16, 2012 a team comprised of members of Boeing’s Phantom Works, Raytheon’s Ktech and the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate successful conducted a missile test for a weapons system capable of decimating a country’s defenses and critically altering the military balance.
The team, led by Boeing and officially known as the Counter-electronics High Powered Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP), held the test at the Utah Test and Training Range. During the hour-long demonstration a cruise missile flew over a target compound and completely disabled the electronic systems of seven targets including a two-storey building by emitting a burst of high powered radio waves.
“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” CHAMP program manager for Phantom Works, Keith Coleman said.
“In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.”
Though the test simulated how a CHAMP missile could be used to shut down enemy radar in advance of a US air attack, hitting targets with non-kinetic energy, the new weapon is officially categorized as a non-lethal weapons system developed under the Future Combat Systems (FCS), which also includes advance robotic systems like autonomous unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs).
CHAMP is a directed energy weapon (DEW) that uses high powered microwaves (HPW) in the megawatt range to overwhelm any electronics systems similar to an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) emitted from the detonation of an atomic bomb but without the kinetic force of a bomb.
American Israeli correspondent Jack DeLowe mirrored our own comments in an email exchange:
Imagine Israel using this weapon from their Popeye missile that could be fired from a standoff distance from a submerged Dolphin submarine or in the air from their Hermes Drone. This could be used to not only paralyze the Iranian underground centrifuge facilities, but also to cut off Iran’s radar, missile systems and to cut off their entire communication system.
Given Israel’s high tech development, it would not surprise many of us that it probably its own version of CHAMP in late stages of development.
Israel hardly ever talks about what it has either under development or in its inventory of advanced weapons. There is the SPICE 250 glide bomb developed by Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Ltd. and used against targets in Syria. SPICE stands for Smart, Precise Impact Cost-effective with a range of 100 kilometers.
Watch this YouTube video of Rafael’s SPICE250 glide bomb:
Then there is another Rafael development, the air and submarine launched Popeye Turbo missile. The Popeye Turbo tube launched cruise missiles carried by Dolphin Class submarines which has a range of 1500 kilometers and can be equipped with both conventional and nuclear warheads. Israel just added a fifth Dolphin submarine to its fleet with a Sixth due from German shipyards in 2017. Thus, theoretically, Israel could likely retrofit both air and submarine launched variants of the Popeye Turbots with CHAMP-like warheads. But, as we said earlier, Israel unlike the U.S. doesn’t talk about such developments.
Watch this YouTube video of the air-launched version of the Popeye Turbo missile used by the Indian Air Force:
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of a Boeing CHAMP non nuclear EMP cruise missile.