Air Force Research Laboratory Announces High Power Electromagnetics Modeling and Effects Project

The Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate recently issued a broad agency announcement for the High Power Electromagnetics (HPEM) Modeling and Effects project. The HPEM project involves modeling and simulating the effects of high-power microwaves weapons designed to destroy or disable enemy electronics, improvised explosive devices, unmanned aircraft, and similar systems.

High-power microwaves can be used to provide low-collateral-damage military applications, counter electronic effects, counter improvised explosive devices, and counter weapons of mass destruction. Focusing beams of microwave energy can protect aircraft and ships against incoming missiles, and aid in attacking electronic targets. 

The HPEM project seeks to characterize the effectiveness of potential HPEM weapons by developing tools and generating vulnerability data to feed those tools. The vulnerability data consists of the likelihood of destruction or disruption of enemy electronics when subjected to high-power electromagnetic energy. It will also investigate how to predict and model the fundamental mechanisms that cause these disruptions or failures. The project expects to issue several future calls on specific areas of interest over the next five years.

The project will cover two broad areas: 

  • effects – involving empirical effects testing; HPEM weapons effectiveness modeling; fundamental HPEM effects research; battle damage assessment and recuperation time; emerging technologies such as HPEM sources, diagnostics, and sensors; and evaluation tools for effects databases; and
  • numerical simulation – involving vii. developing simulation codes for HPEM systems and components modeling; using codes in developing HPEM systems and components; developing simplified high-performance computing and analysis tools; digital engineering of HPEM systems and components; multiscale materials modeling; developing HPEM engagement-level codes; engagement and mission level modeling of HPEM systems; and validating all software.