The Army Is Testing A Microwave Weapon System In The Mountains Of New Mexico

Gear
Photo via DoD

The Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base has turned its massive MaxPower microwave defense system over to the U.S. Army for new rounds of research and development.


The system, which the AFRL built to destroy improvised explosive devices, will now be housed at New Mexico Tech’s Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center near Socorro. The center, which includes a 40-square-mile field laboratory in the mountains adjacent to the university, has been used for explosives research and testing by NM Tech for government and private clients for more than 60 years.

The Army’s Armament, Research, Development and Engineering Center took over the MaxPower program this week.

The system packs a full gigawatt of concentrated electromagnetic power into an armored truck. That’s one billion times the power of an average home microwave oven, allowing the vehicle to instantly destroy IEDs as it cruises through battle zones.

AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland built the system for $50 million from 2007 to 2012, and then deployed it for nine months of testing in Afghanistan. Since then, it’s been housed at the AFRL’s High Power Microwave division, where lab scientists and engineers continue to work on new microwave systems that can be used to destroy enemy targets without harming people or infrastructure.

MaxPower, however, is the only microwave weapon to date to be deployed on the battlefield. The Air Force also brought a nonlethal, vehicle-mounted Active Denial System, or “Pain Ray,” to Afghanistan. It causes a burning sensation on skin to disperse crowds or force people to drop their weapons, but it was never used.

“MaxPower was one of the first Directed Energy systems that we deployed and used in theater,” said AFRL High Power Electromagnetics Division lead Mary Lou Robinson in a statement. “Active Denial was deployed but never turned on. MaxPower overcame that fear, hesitation, and stigma of using something in the theater that you can’t see, and it was used many times.”

The vehicle was on point for 19 combat missions with convoys across IED-infested roads and highways in Afghanistan, said 2nd Lt. Daniel Gum of the Directed Energy Directorate.

Robinson said the Army is interested in technology that provides effectiveness against explosive hazards and improvised threats, and AFRL will be ready to provide assistance as the project moves forward.

———

©2017 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

President Donald Trump could issue a pardon on Memorial Day for Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher, former Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, and Marine Scout Snipers accused of urinating on Taliban corpses, the New York Times is reporting.

The White House is working with the Justice Department and military services to get the paperwork necessary for the pardons in order, according to the Times.

Read More Show Less

If the Pentagon had to take Consumer Math class in high school, they'd flunk.

The U.S. military—correction, the U.S. taxpayer—is spending more money to buy fewer weapons. The reason? Poor acquisition practices, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

"DOD's 2018 portfolio of major weapon programs has grown in cost by $8 billion, but contains four fewer systems than last year," GAO found.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on RFE/RL: Afghanistan.

KABUL -- An air strike has mistakenly killed at least nine Afghan police officers, including a commander, during a battle with the Taliban in the southern province of Helmand, local officials say.

They said that 14 officers were also wounded in the May 16 strike in the Nahr-e Saraj district , which is located outside the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Army photo)

Chuck Norris contains multitudes.

He's an Oklahoman and an Air Force vet, an actor and martial artist. The intensity of his badassery formed the basis of one of the earliest and most ubiquitous internet memes. He's a fictional member of Delta Force and a Texas Ranger, his beard a source of such virile endurance and strength that it makes Samson's biblical mane look like a bouquet of hobo pubes.

Now, Norris will live forever as the ultimate instrument of righteousness: an M1 Abrams tank.

Read More Show Less
Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (center). Photo: Task & Purpose.

CONCORD, N.H. — The U.S. Army signed onto a partnership with the state of New Hampshire on Wednesday in the hopes of sharpening its recruiting edge.

Read More Show Less