Boeing tests 'Star Wars' weapon in Utah desert

We've seen it in the movies for years, from "GoldenEye" to the "Matrix," but now, science fiction is closer to fact. Boeing and the Air Force have just successfully completed a test of a new, high tech weapon that can knock out computers and other electronic systems with a microwave pulse.

This month, in the desert of western Utah, a Boeing missile cruised over several targets, firing electromagnetic pulses to targets below.

A video released by Boeing demonstrates how the system works, although it doesn't show the actual missile test flight. It depicts a missile flying low over a building and sending a microwave pulse that turns off a row of computers.

Boeing project manager Keith Coleman says that's exactly what happened during the test flight in Utah.

"When that computer went out, when we fired it, it actually took out the cameras, as well. We took out everything on that. It was fantastic," he said.

The Counter-Electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP, could be a weapon of the near future for the U.S. military, according to Air Force test engineer Peter Finlay. "We're not quite up to the place where the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" movies are, but this is definitely an advancement in technology to be able to give us an opportunity to do things we couldn't do before."

This was just the first test flight of many to show that the technology is not just the stuff of movies, but has a practical application, perhaps sooner rather than later.


Tim Haeck, KIRO Radio Reporter
Tim Haeck is a news reporter with KIRO Radio. While Tim is one of our go-to, no-nonsense reporters, he also has a sensationally dry sense of humor and it will surprise some to learn he is a weekend warrior.
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