USAF Detachment 8 Continues US Research Into EMP-Microwave Weapons
Detachment 8 Air Force Research Laboratory/PKDP at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM is researching new opportunities in all aspects of high-power electromagnetic weaponry. Their research supports missions such as survivability of U.S. Department of Defense equipment against high-power microwave emissions, the development of high-power microwave (HPM) weapons, and the refinement of high-power microwave-predictive modeling for inclusion into engagement and campaign-level models.
HPM actually encompasses a variety of devices. HERF (High Energy Radio Frequency) and EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) “electronics killer e-bombs” effects are HPM weapons, and this field has received the bulk for research dollars. So too, however, is “Project Sheriff,” also known as the “pain ray” that does no significant damage to its human target other than causing pain. Other nations believed to be conducting research in the area of HPM weapons generally include China, Great Britain and France.
The Air Force is awarding a $24 million to be split among these eight companies. DID lists the companies involved in the current contract, and also notes previous contracts along similar lines that extend back to 1994:
- ATK/Mission Research Corp. in Albuquerque, NM (FA9451-06-D-0216)
- Electro Magnetic Applications in Lakewood, CO (FA9451-06-D-0217)
- Fiore Industries, Albuquerque, NM (FA9451-06-D-0218)
- ITT Industries, Albuquerque in NM (FA9451-06-D-0219)
- Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX (FA9451-06-D-0220)
- Northrop Grumman, Albuquerque, NM (FA9451-06-D-0221)
- Science Applications International Corp. in Albuquerque, NM (FA9451-06-D-0222)
- Voss Scientific in Albuquerque, NM (FA9451-06-D-0223)
In technical terms, it’s a $24 million maximum cost-reimbursement, cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract that will be split among the eight contractors listed. Plus one firm-fixed price award to Electro Magnetic Application. Solicitations began October 2005, negotiations were complete February 2006, and work will be complete February 2012. The intent is for the contractors to make optimum use of available AFRL / DEH capital assets and to augment or compliment AFRL (Air Force Research Laboratory)/DEH capabilities. The Air Force can issue delivery orders totaling up to the maximum amount indicated above, although the actual requirement may be less than the amount above.
This contract provides for research and development under BAA entitled “Electro Magnetic Effects Research and Development.” A previous award to Fiore Industries in 2002 noted that the ultimate goals of the AFRL programs were to provide information on HPM source output parameters that will allow them to disrupt, deny, degrade and/or destroy adversary systems using these weapons, and to protect U.S. systems from HPM attack or the effects of US weapons if they’re used.
There are rumours that weapons of this type were used in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
At this time, the following amounts are obligated:
- $100,000 (ATK/MRC)
- $81,416 (EMA)
- $33,166 (Fiore);
- $139,000 (ITT)
- $30,000 (Lockheed Martin)
- $165,000 (Northrop Grumman)
- $75,000 (SAIC); and
- $73,351 (Voss Scientific).
Note that several of these firms had received related awards before.
As far back as November 18, 1994, Fiore Industries received a $7.1 million face value increase to a cost-plus-award-fee contract. This contract provided for the High Power Microwave Research and Experiment Program, “which seeks to assess the effects of microwave and radio frequencies on various assets, to increase understanding of hardening measure against these energies, and to improve experimentation techniques related to them.” That contract ended in November 1997; fully 67 bids were solicited in August 1994, and 3 proposals were received by The Phillips Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM (F29601-95-C-0025).
On January 12, 1996, Hughes Missile Systems Company received a $6.6 million cost-plus fixed-fee contract for a High Power Microwave Suppression of Enemy Air Defense Technology Demonstration. Work was performed at Hughes Missile Systems Company in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. That contract (F29601-96/C-0031) ended January 1999. The Phillips Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM had solicited 36 firms, and 2 proposals were received.
On February 25, 2000, ITT received a $7.85 million contract (F29601-00-D-0061) for investigation of the lethality of high power microwave (HPM) devices on target systems, and the susceptibility of U.S. systems to HPM threats. That contract ended in 2005.
On August 30, 2002, Fiore Industries received a $16.35 million contract along the same lines (F29601-02-D-0102). This was followed on December 12, 2002 by both ITT (F29601-00-D-0061, P00008 – note that this added to its earlier contract) and Voss Scientific (F29601-00-D-0062, P00005) with their own $16.35 million contracts; as well as TRW Systems in Fairfax, VA (F29601-00-D-0064, P00003) and Mission Research Corp. in Santa Barbara, CA (F29601-00-D-0063, P00003). Those contracts ended in 2005.
On November 30, 2004, SAIC received a $49 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to develop technologies, components, and systems for High Power Microwave an other directed energy systems via this Directed Energy Technology Applications and Research (DETAR) contractual effort. DETAR intends to develop and enhance present capabilities as well as expand the horizons and search for new opportunities in all aspects of high power microwave (HPM) system and technology development. The program provided technology and applications research and development (R&D) for pulse power (PP) and HPMs, making optimum use of AFRL/DEH capital resources, facilities, and experience. The Air Force can issue delivery orders totaling up the maximum amount indicated above, although actual requirements may necessitate less than the amount above. Solicitations began July 2004, negotiations were complete October 2004, and work will be complete by September 2009. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM issued this contract (FA9451-05-D-0004).