Air Force developing CHAMP system to counter North Korean ICBMs

The Air Force is developing a weapon system designed to defeat ICBMs from North Korea and other rogue nations.

At a remote military lab in New Mexico, developers are working on a system called “CHAMP” — Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project.

James Fisher, spokesman for the Air Force Research Lab at Kirtland Air Force Base, explained that the system is a high-powered microwave weapon that can be delivered on an air-launched cruise missile from a U.S. bomber.

The system would be attached to a cruise missile and fly into enemy airspace at a low altitude to deliver a strong electromagnetic pulses, thereby jamming the enemy’s electronic command-and-control systems.

Afterwards, the cruise missile would then splash harmlessly into the sea.

“It would be very useful in the Korean theater because it wouldn’t require the presence of significant numbers of ground forces,” said retired Air Force intelligence officer Col. Cedric Leighton, who called the system a “game-changer.”

“It wouldn’t require Special Operations forces. And it wouldn’t require kinetic bombing attacks. … In essence, what could happen is an attack can occur, and not a single person on the enemy side would lose a life,” he said.

The Air Force tested the system in Utah in 2012, in an area the size of Delaware.

“It absolutely did exactly what we thought it was going to do,” said Mary Lou Robinson, head of  research and development of CHAMP at the Air Force Research Laboratory.

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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