Official description: HAARP


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project (HAARP)
Program Manager: Dr. Sheldon Meth

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project (HAARP) developed new 
experimental research capabilities and conducted research programs to exploit 
emerging ionosphere and radio science technologies related to advanced defense 
applications. The FY 1990 Appropriation Act provided funds for the creation of 
HAARP, jointly managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Office of 
Naval Research to exploit emerging ionosphere and high power radio technology 
for new military systems applications. Key to the current effort was the 
expansion of the experimental research facility that includes a 3.6 MW 
high-frequency transmitter and a variety of diagnostic instruments, to conduct 
investigations to characterize the physical processes that can be initiated and 
controlled in the ionosphere and space, via interactions with high power radio 
waves. Among these were: (1) the generation of extremely low frequency/very low 
frequency radio waves for submarine and other subsurface communication, and the 
reduction of charged particle populations in the radiation belts to ensure safe 
spacecraft systems operations; (2) the control of electron density gradients and
the refractive properties in selected regions of the ionosphere to create radio 
wave propagation channels; and (3) the generation of optical and infrared 
emissions in space to calibrate space sensors. To date, the facility has been 
developed to include a suite of optical and radio diagnostics and an advanced, 
modern, high frequency transmitting array that has a radiated power of 960 kW, 
about one-third of the 3.6MW called for in the original concept and plan. The 
current high frequency transmitting array has proven to be extremely reliable 
and flexible, and has shown the feasibility of the overall concept. However, 
results to date have indicated that the advanced applications-related research 
activities and new military system concept demonstrations envisioned under the 
program require that the high frequency transmitting capability at the site be 
increased from the present 960 kW level to the originally planned 3.6 MW level. 
A study completed by an Air Force/Navy Panel also pointed to additional 
high-value functions that can potentially be accomplished with the a 3.6 MW 
capability, in particular, the exploration and refinement of scientific 
principles that could lead to the development and deployment of a system to 
provide protection for spacebased assets from emergent asymmetric threats. DARPA
established an MOA with the Air Force and Navy for this program in November 
2002. The HAARP technology is transitioning to the Air Force and Navy in FY 

Program Plans

€       Completed the HAARP high frequency transmitting array at the HAARP Research 
Station, Gakona, AK.

        €       Prepared the existing HAARP facility in preparation for ionospheric testing.

€       Conducted advanced ionosphere and radio science research and analysis of 
applications including space-based asset protection and phenomena related to its

Last Updated: 3/9/06

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