The missile launched from the wing pylon of a B-52 heavy bomber and streaked over the desert of western Utah. At pre-set coordinates, a microwave emitter installed in the winged, jet-propelled cruise missile blasted a target building. But there was no big bang, no billowing clouds of dust and debris. Instead, the building was struck with disruptive, high-frequency microwaves.
The goal of the test on the morning of Oct. 16 was “to render … electronic and data systems useless,” according to Boeing, the lead contractor for the three-year, $40-million Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP, initiated in 2009.