On Oct. 16, 2012, at 10.32 am MST, a missile made history cruising fast over the desert at the Utah Test and Training Range.
Known as CHAMP, Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project, the adveniristic weapon may one day change modern warfare fought by troops, aircraft increasingly dependent on electronic and data systems: it can hit a target with a high-powered microwave pulse capable to defeat electronic targets with little or no collateral damage.
Hence, a weapon that does not kill nor cause harm to people. At least not directly.
CHAMP missile’s test target was a two story building: the first burst of High Power Microwaves caused inside rows of personal computers and electrical systems to turn on as a consequence of the powerful radio waves that hit them. Moments later the monitors were knocked out, demonstrating that both the PCs and the electrical systems had been successfully hit without collateral damage.
According to Boeing Phantom Works, seven targets were hit using CHAMP’s high power microwaves in the one-hour test that degraded and defeated the electronics inside the test buildings.
Even if the artistic impression above shows a B-2 as the launch platform for the CHAMP, the Boeing video shows technical people working around an Air Force B-52 strategic bomber, probably used for the testing phase and Oct. 16 launch.