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C4iSR: Joint & Common Equipment

Leidos, USAF developing non-lethal EM technology to shut down electronics

28 March 2017

The US Air Force (USAF) is developing the ability to disrupt or neutralise electronic systems and technologies with little to no collateral damage using high power electromagnetics (HPEM).

HPEM technology produces beams of electromagnetic energy over a broad spectrum of radio and microwave frequencies that can cause a range of temporary or permanent effects on electronic targets, Robert Torres from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), told Jane's.

Examples include non-lethally stopping cars and boats, disrupting computer systems, damaging targeted electronics, pre-detonating explosive devices, disrupting security and industrial control systems, and inhibiting communications, Torres said.

"It is human-safe and does not physically destroy buildings or other infrastructure like kinetic weapons do, thus potentially reducing casualties, environmental damage, and post-conflict reconstruction costs," he added.

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