ALBUQUERQUE ― U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced a $10 million investment in directed energy development in New Mexico.
A $4.8 million award from the U.S Air Force will go to Raytheon Ktech in Albuquerque to continue the Counter-Electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile, also known as CHAMP, for use aboard the Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile (CALCM).
Additionally, Sandia National Laboratories will receive $1.4 million and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) will receive $3.8 million for further technology development. Heinrich made the announcement at the Raytheon Ktech facility in Albuquerque. The company employs 170 people in New Mexico.
“As one of my top priorities on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am thrilled we can now finally take this major step forward with Raytheon Ktech toward fielding directed energy technology for our military,” Heinrich said. “With the expertise in New Mexico, this contract will set the stage to bring more high-paying jobs and develop a very large funding stream for directed energy work in the state. I’m excited to see a homegrown New Mexico company making significant contributions to this emerging field that will provide critical tools to our national defense in the years to come.”
CHAMP is a non-kinetic payload that can disable adversaries’ electronic systems. As part of the contract, Raytheon Missile Systems Ktech will refurbish the CHAMP payload and a pair of CALCMs and deliver them to AFRL. This is the first major CHAMP activity since AFRL successfully demonstrated the technology in October 2012. Sandia National Laboratories and AFRL in New Mexico will also play a critical role in further technology development of CHAMP.
Heinrich is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and has worked over the last several years to increase funding and support for the development of directed energy technology like CHAMP for our military. New Mexico is home to incredible assets for directed energy such as AFRL, the High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office, White Sands Missile Range, and many key industry players that contribute enormously to the nation’s national security and state’s economy.
Below are Heinrich’s remarks as prepared for delivery March 24:
Good morning, and thank you for inviting me to be here with you to share this exciting news.
The U.S. Air Force has awarded Raytheon Ktech with a $4.8 million contract to continue its work on the Counter-Electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile, or CHAMP.
For the folks who don’t work here, CHAMP is a non-kinetic payload that can disable an adversary’s electronic systems using high powered microwaves when it is deployed on a conventional cruise missile.
Because of its directed energy technology, CHAMP can disable enemy infrastructure while avoiding collateral damage.
This weapon is designed to incapacitate an enemy’s electronic systems, which will enable the military to reduce enemy capabilities while reducing impacts on civilian populations.
Essentially, CHAMP has the potential to become a nonlethal tool for our military to use in the battle space.
This contract will allow Raytheon Ktech here in Albuquerque to work with the Air Force Research Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories to pair CHAMP with conventional air-launched cruise missiles.
I truly believe that directed energy will play a critical role in the future of weapons systems for our military. Directed energy technology will provide our military with a qualitative advantage over our adversaries.
And I have worked over the last several years as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to increase funding in Congress for the development of directed energy technology like CHAMP for use in our military.
I’ve also met with military leaders including the head of Air Combat Command, General Carlisle, who realizes the potential of this technology and strongly supports the fielding of CHAMP.
This contract is a major step forward for Raytheon Ktech and toward the fielding of directed energy technology for our military. It’s time to move past the R&D phase and put this technology to work.
If Raytheon Ktech is successful in this endeavor, this will set the stage to bring more high-paying jobs and develop a substantial funding stream for directed energy work in the state.
And I believe it will lead us toward realizing the vision of the Directed Energy Center of Excellence here in Albuquerque. I have a deep appreciation of the potential for directed energy technology.
Partly because I started my career in New Mexico working on directed energy technology at what is now the Air Force Research Laboratory. That experience led me to found the first ever Congressional Directed Energy Caucus.
And on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am leading the effort to transition directed energy that is developed in our labs and research facilities toward programs that help the U.S. and our allies maintain military superiority.
I was proud to help lead the fight to establish and authorize a new $300 million initiative to enhance the military technological edge of the United States-with a special focus on directed energy.
I will also be introducing legislation soon to accelerate the development and fielding of directed energy weapon systems through rapid acquisition authorities.
A major roadblock standing in the way of fielding directed energy systems is the requirements-setting process in the military’s acquisition process, where the prevailing belief is that kinetic weapon capabilities already exist. So an alternative is not needed, and therefore not required.
This thinking ignores the potential added value of weapons systems like CHAMP being able to target enemy air defenses and command and control while avoiding the unintended consequences of collateral damage to the civilian population.
Let me be clear, directed energy weapon systems won’t replace kinetic options today or anytime soon, but we should absolutely be providing our troops with tactical and strategic advantages that they offer.
New Mexico is home to incredible assets for directed energy such as the Air Force Research Laboratory, the High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office, White Sands Missile Range, and many key industry players that contribute enormously to our national security and our state’s economy.
Ktech is a great example. Ktech started in Albuquerque in 1971 and developed a broad range of expertise in pulsed power engineering and directed energy systems.
Raytheon acquired Ktech five years ago and has continued to take advantage of the unique opportunities our state has to offer. The company employs 170 people in Albuquerque. That’s a story we should all be proud of.
And I will continue to play an active role in educating my fellow policymakers in Washington and acquisition staff in the military on the potential for directed energy technology.
I’m proud to see homegrown New Mexico leadership continue to make major contributions to this emerging field that will provide critical tools to our national defense in the years to come.