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

Gear
The MaxPower microwave defense system, now overseen by the U.S. Army’s Armament, Research, Development and Engineering Center.
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.

A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.

It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.

Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.

Read More Show Less

No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.

Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.

"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.

Read More Show Less
A projectile is fired during North Korea's missile tests in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2019. (KCNA via Reuters)

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.

The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.

Read More Show Less

Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.

In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.

"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.

Read More Show Less
Erik Prince arrives for the New York Young Republican Club Gala at The Yale Club of New York City in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., November 7, 2019. (REUTERS/Jeenah Moon)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.

Read More Show Less