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High-Power Compact Microwave Source for Vehicle Immobilization, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2006
47 pages
This report describes the development and testing of a high-power electromagnetic system (HPEMS) for remotely immobilizing the operation of vehicles by using microwave energy to disable/damage a vehicle's electronic control module/microprocessors that control an engine's vital functions.

The HPEMS has the ability to create a high-value asset perimeter protection from approaching hostile vehicles. Other uses are for perimeter protection for gas-oil (fueling platforms at sea), as well as to protect clandestine operations from electronic detection or interference. The most obvious application is to halt speeding cars on urban, suburban roads and multi-lane highways. The HPEMS consists of three major elements: power supply and Marx generator, tunable RF oscillator, and high-gain antenna. Initial test results were encouraging. The prototype delivered approximately 60 kV/m at 30 feet from the antenna, and it "killed" the engine of a 1999 Honda Accord by using a single radiated pulse. More tests that use a wide range of HPEMS/target-related parameters are warranted in order to obtain a reliable assessment of the prototype HPEMS. In order to avoid collateral damage to untargeted vehicles, particularly on multi-lane highways, HPEMS is designed to optimize the antenna beam size, given operational frequency and the limitations of the antenna aperture size, which, together with system operational procedures (distance to the target vehicle and aspect angle) will ensure the "illumination" of only the target vehicle. The prototype HPEMS is compact and weighs approximately 230 lbs. It can be integrated into a police car with cited operational capabilities. Further reduction in system size and weight are feasible. 24 figures and 13 references