It’s time to forget the rise of the machines and future computer apocalypse scenarios if Boeing’s CHAMP missile is anything to go by. The CHAMP (Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project) does the simplest thing possible. It shuts down anything electrical related: computers, mobile phones and power systems. Think of how frustrating it is when the power goes out in your home, and you still want to switch on the kettle to make coffee.
On 16 October Boeing successfully tested the CHAMP at Hill Air Force Base. As the missile flew over its target, a two-story building on the test range, it fired a burst of High Power Microwaves. Computers went dark as it successfully knocked out the computer and electrical systems. Even the cameras recording the event inside the building were knocked offline.
“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare. In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive,” said CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works Keith Coleman.
Vice president of Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft, James Dodd, said there is a need for a weapon that does not cause harm to civilians or people, yet can still defeat a target. “We know this has some capabilities and some impact, we’re really trying to engage the customer to see if there is a way we can actually get this fielded and implemented sooner than later,” he said.
Reminiscent of post-apocalyptic Hollywood movies like “Escape from LA” and “Terminator Salvation”? As Keith Coleman said: “today we turned science fiction into science fact”.