Air Forces Plans For RF Defense/Offense

While browsing I noticed a link to The U.S. Air Force Transformation Flight Plan. Among other things, the Transformation Flight Plan shows how the Air Force is using technology to meet new national security realities. One of the interesting uses of RF is in the Air Force's "Directed Energy Master Plan", which includes a system called High Powered Microwave Airborne Electronic Attack. Here is how it is described: "The Air Force is also looking for ways to provide measured global force projection via high-powered microwaves (HPM). Within HPM, it is investigating how to enhance the lethality of HPM systems, conformal array antennas (in order to put these systems on tactical platforms), and air breakdown mitigation (the physics of propagating HPM through the atmosphere). The Service is also identifying enabling technologies for directed energy for 'from tap on the shoulder, through to toast' those we wish to control."

The Air Force is working on a Global Broadcast System using Ka-band satellites "to allow relatively high bandwidth transmission of mission critical information to forces virtually anywhere in the world with relative simplicity." This could be part of the Joint Tactical Radio System Network, "a collection of JTRS-enabled user nodes. When connected, these nodes will create an information mesh across the battle space. Each node, whether moving (orbiting satellite, aircraft, surface ship, submarine or vehicle) or static (geosynchronous satellite, fixed or stationary command post, fixed sea or land sensor) will provide a portion of the network. Each node not only provides for its own information needs, but as a part of the network, provides transit and other support for the overall network. The sum of the nodes will create the network." This is similar to the mesh networks being deployed in some areas for wireless Internet access.

The Plan recognizes that it is essential to protect our space systems (commercial and military) and deny an adversary's ability to exploit space for military purposes. Developing rapid space launch capability is one way the Air Force plans to do this. Another is the Space-Based Radio Frequency Energy Weapon, which the plan says, "Would be a constellation of satellites containing high-power radio-frequency transmitters that possess the capability to disrupt/destroy/disable a wide variety of electronics and national-level command and control systems. It would typically be used as a non-kinetic anti-satellite weapon."

While the report is short on technical details, it provides an interesting look at how new technology is changing military operations. For details on other systems, including 100 kW solid-state lasers and Airship Relay Mirrors, download the large (3.4 MB) I noticed an interesting link to The U.S. Air Force Transformation Flight Plan.