F-bombs not a problem, US lays out $16 million to fight E-bombs

While the US Supreme court is worried about F-bombs, the government is looking to thwart the use of high-powered E-bombs, that could fry radio circuitry and damage key intelligence gathering systems.

The US Air Force today awarded Science Applications International Corp. a $16 million to develop and enhance systems that combat electromagnetic warfare. According to the GlobalSecurity.org site HPM sources have been under investigation for several years as potential weapons for a variety of combat, sabotage, and terrorist applications. Due to classification restrictions, details of this work are relatively unknown outside the military community and its contractors. A key point to recognize is the insidious nature of HPM. Due to the gigahertz-band frequencies (4 to 20 GHz) involved, HPM has the capability to penetrate not only radio front-ends, but also the most minute shielding penetrations throughout the equipment.

The Air Force Research Laboratory is overseeing this program that has at its core, four main goals. They include:

1. Susceptibility Experimentation. Conduct aircraft, ground-based electronic systems, sub-systems, and component susceptibility experimentation. The goal of these experiments is to provide the necessary data to allow for the prediction of High Power Electromagnetics (HPM/HPEM) effects on similar systems

2. Modeling and Computational Analysis. Develop theoretical techniques and computational tools related to HPM/HPEM effects testing and for modeling HPM. This effort includes the development of techniques and tools for a number of predictive HPM/HPEM models that include system components, geometries, and architecture, the Air Force said.

3. Defensive Technology Development. Analyze electronic subsystems and systems that may have susceptibilities to high intensity electromagnetic fields. Efforts will identify the type and level of mitigation, whether it be software or hardware, that would be most suited to provide the required additional protection. Efforts would also evaluate the risk trade-offs for mission accomplishment between retro-fit hardening and procedural changes that allow for a system not being functional for a specified amount of time, the Air Force said.

4. HPM/HPEM Laboratory Source and Technology Development. Develop theoretical and experimental analysis on advanced concepts that will be used for improving the capabilities of high-power microwaves and high power electromagnetic sources. These sources cover the electromagnetic spectrum from radio-frequency waves to gamma rays, and their interactions with air, charged particles, and solid target materials. This effort will also address theoretical analysis on advanced concepts that will be used for improving the capabilities of high power microwave wideband systems.

SAIC has been heavily involved in HP researcher. Earlier this year if got $49 million earlier this year for work on HPM. In 2005 the company got an almost $50 million contract for HPM research and development. Other contractors such as ITT Industries, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have also received money to research HPM.

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