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AFRL to Fund High-Power Microwave Tech Projects; Robert Torres Quoted

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High-Power Microwave Tech
High-Power Microwave Tech AFRL

The Air Force Research Laboratory will invest $10 million in projects that aim to develop components of high-power microwave weapon systems.

AFRL said Friday it specifically seeks compact, high-gain antennas and solid-state switches for use in effects research and high-repetition-rate pulsed power, respectively.

The laboratory's directed energy directorate announced the funds, which will support awards made under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Robert Torres, senior strategist at AFRL, will lead a team of subject matter experts to manage the investment.

“Each topic will consist of 16 Phase I awards of $150,000 each for a nine-month period,” Torres said. He added the team will downselect eight projects for 18-month SBIR Phase II awards worth $1 million each.

“This money is intended to stimulate the defense industrial base for high power microwave electronics,” said Dr. Don Shiffler, the chief scientist of AFRL's directed energy directorate. Shiffler added that they hope businesses from New Mexico will submit proposals for the awards.

AFRL expects SBIR to call for entries in January 2022 and begin issuing the awards in April that same year.