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Boeing's CHAMP Missile Uses Radio Waves To Remotely Disable PCs 341

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the computer-time-is-over-billy dept.
Dupple writes "During last week's test, a CHAMP (Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project) missile successfully disabled its target by firing high power microwaves into a building filled with computers and other electronics. 'On Oct. 16th at 10:32 a.m. MST a Boeing Phantom Works team along with members from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate team, and Raytheon Ktech, suppliers of the High Power Microwave source, huddled in a conference room at Hill Air Force Base and watched the history making test unfold on a television monitor. CHAMP approached its first target and fired a burst of High Power Microwaves at a two story building built on the test range. Inside rows of personal computers and electrical systems were turned on to gauge the effects of the powerful radio waves. Seconds later the PC monitors went dark and cheers erupted in the conference room. CHAMP had successfully knocked out the computer and electrical systems in the target building. Even the television cameras set up to record the test were knocked off line without collateral damage.'"
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Boeing's CHAMP Missile Uses Radio Waves To Remotely Disable PCs

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  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @10:23AM (#41751797)
    Only if "terrorism" means "anything and everything Progrman3K disapproves of."
  • Re:Faradays cage (Score:5, Informative)

    by bmo (77928) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @10:34AM (#41751963)

    >Excuse my ignorance on this one, but if the missile disrupts electrical systems, how is a Faraday cage going to help?

    The microwaves doesn't cause sufficient voltage spikes in the electrical power going into the building - that takes an EMP to happen. The microwaves causes voltage surges at the junction level in the microelectronics in the machine itself, where the threshold for a "fry" is much lower.

    A faraday cage, like the one that keeps you from being irradiated with 1.5kW of radio waves as you stand in front of your microwave oven waiting for the popcorn, would be sufficient to keep the electronics inside the building working. Either build a room or shield the whole building with mesh.

    Eine kleine chicken wire


  • by cmiller173 (641510) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @10:41AM (#41752069)
    Microwaves are non-ionizing, so cancer 20 years later is unlikely.
  • Re:Faradays cage (Score:5, Informative)

    by bmo (77928) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @10:49AM (#41752205)

    Power supplies, especially the ones in computers and in cameras and everything else except things like fluorescent lamp ballasts, have transistors. These transistors get fried at the junctions.

    You can't aim a microwave signal at a power line or transformer and get the desired result here. The wavelength is too short.

    Note that the fluorescent lights are still on in the room in the photograph.


  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @12:17PM (#41753401)
    My understanding - and I am not an expert either - is that it prohibits weapons that are *intended* to cause blindness. It doesn't prohibit weapons which may cause blindness incidentially to their intended purpose, and this has come up in the past with regards to laser-guided missiles where the very high-powered targeting laser can be easily pointed into the enemy eyes to disable them while the missile closes.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe