USAF seeks HPM bomber

The US Air Force began its search for a “counter electronics munition” by issuing a request for information to industry last October. That was followed by a public briefing that outlined plans for deploying an operational weapon by 2012. As of last July, the USAF had expressed a preference for a “counter electronics” payload that is inserted into a JDAM body modified with a wingkit for extended range.

This process appears to have coalesced into a new competition launched last week for the counter-electronics HPM advanced missile project (CHAMP), a 36-month proof of principle demonstration.

Interestingly, the USAF seems to have discarded the modified JDAM strategy. Instead, the service is looking for a aerial platform — ie, what I like to now call the “HPM bomber” — equipped with an HPM payload.

Bids for the $40 million CHAMP contract are due on January 15, and contract award is scheduled in March. BAE Systems, MBDA and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories have already expressed interest.

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