Lockheed Martin received a $230,000 US Air Force contract to define requirements for a weapon that uses high-power microwave energy beams instead of explosives to take out enemy electronic systems. The Non-Kinetic Counter Electronics Capability (NKCE) contract will lead to a new type of weapon that will destroy electronic equipment without endangering personnel.
The contract, awarded by the US Air Force Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, calls for the development of an operations concept for the NKCE system, along with a mission planning strategy. Lockheed Martin will deliver its findings to the US Air Force during the first quarter of 2011.
The contract also involves the development of system requirements and a concept of packaging the high-power microwave source system into an aerial platform. In addition, Lockheed Martin will identify hardening strategies to ensure system survivability in heavily defended areas.
“This type of weapon is completely non-lethal, so we can take out specific electronic targets deep within an enemy’s infrastructure without concern for human collateral damage,” said Tom Remenick, Advanced Programs Manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The ability to specifically render the enemy’s electronic equipment useless will give our Warfighters a distinctive advantage in any conflict.”
When fielded, the weapon would require an aerial delivery platform for operational flexibility and the ability to engage multiple targets per mission. The system would be aimed at buildings or other structures containing identified electronic equipment that high-power microwave bursts would quickly render useless.