The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland AFB, N.M., is establishing a High-Power Microwave Institute to help scientists there develop this emerging class of weapons. “High-power microwave technology can selectively degrade, disrupt, or destroy electronic systems, disperse aggressive crowds, and defeat improvised explosive devices at the speed of light, with little or no collateral effects,” writes AFRL’s Jeanne Dalley in a directorate release. The institute, essentially a high-performance computing center, will enable AFRL researchers to design HPM weapons virtually, significantly reducing developmental timelines and saving money in the process. Such computing tools will allow “the scientist to provide the inspiration, while the computer provides the perspiration,” states Dalley. This institute is the Air Force’s third high-performance computing center. It is made possible by an Office of the Secretary of Defense award.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.