24/10/2012 09:22 BST | Updated 24/10/2012 09:28 BST

Boeing Tests Microwave Missile That Can Knock Out All Electronics

Boeing is testing a missile which can destroy electronics in a wide area with little or no physical damage.

The 'Champ' (Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project) may "one day change warfare", Boeing said.

"This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare," said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works.

"In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive".

The missile was tested on 16 October, when the high-powered microwaves were fired at a two storey building built especially for the job.

The missile would, if successful, take out rows of personal computers which were turned on to gauge the effect of the blast.

The result?

"Seconds later the PC monitors went dark and cheers erupted in the conference room. CHAMP had successfully knocked out the computer and electrical systems in the target building. Even the television cameras set up to record the test were knocked off line without collateral damage."

Seven targets were hit in the one-hour test, and all were successfully disabled.

There is a long way to go before the microwave can be placed into a missile and used to disable targets without loss of life, but the team is hopeful it could prove to be a milestone in non-lethal warfare.

"Today we turned science fiction into science fact," Coleman said.