NMT Provides New Home to Microwave Defense System

NMT Provides New Home to Microwave Defense System

SOCORRO, N.M. – New Mexico Tech is the new home for the massive MaxPower microwave defense system. The vehicle-mounted system, designed to uncover and destroy improvised explosive devices, was developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base and was turned over to the Army for new rounds of testing.

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The official key exchange between the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army. At right is Carlos Romero, associate vice president of research at NMT.


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Representatives of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Leidos, and New Mexico Tech commemorated the transfer of the MaxPower defense system from the Air Force to the Army at New Mexico Tech on Friday, May 19. 


The MaxPower system packs a full gigawatt on the back of a military truck, roughly one million times the power of a normal, household microwave. Officials from the Air Force, the Army, Leidos, and New Mexico Tech attended a ceremony to officially hand over the keys to the vehicle in Socorro on Friday, May 19.

The Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center on the campus of New Mexico Tech will house the equipment. The center includes a 40-square-mile field lab that is well suited for potential future development and testing.

The Army’s Armament, Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, is now in charge of further development of the anti-weapons system. New Mexico Tech will help ARDEC re-purpose MaxPower for more battlefield uses against explosive hazards, said Carlos Romero, the university’s associate vice president for research and economic development.

AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate built the system for $50 million from 2007 to 2012, with a full round of successful testing at Kirtland Air Force Base. The system was then deployed it for nine months of testing in Afghanistan in 2015 and 2016.

– NMT –