In 1993, a facility was established in Alaska known as HAARP or High Frequency Auroral Research Program. It is operated as a joint project by the US Air Force, US Navy, University of Alaska and DARPA. HAARP was built by BAE Advanced Technologies on a site owned by the US Air Force. Much of the administration is handled by the University of Alaska. In it’s two decade history, the facility has cost tax payers roughly half a billion dollars in both construction cost and annual operating expenses. This is not a huge sum of money for a military research program, given the number of years it is spread out over.
HAARP has a number of different scientific instruments and systems on site. These include UHF and VHF radars, geomagnetic sensors and radio receivers. However, the heart of HAARP is a very powerful HF transmitting system, connected to a phased array of upward-pointing high gain antennas. It directs a beam of up to 3.6 megawatts of RF energy upward at the ionosphere. The operating frequency is between 2.8 and 10 MHz.
HAARP is an ionospheric heater. It uses this energy to excite the ionosphere over the site. The heating and excitement of the ionosphere allows measurements to be taken of the general state of the ionosphere. Some of the energy is reflected back to the ground and can be received and analyzed. Pumping the ionosphere with RF energy can also produce a temporary controlled plasma turbulence effect. The overall effect, however, is relatively modest and highly localized. The 3.6 megawatts of RF energy a facility like HAARP can produce is quite small compared to the effects of geomagnetic fluctuation and solar wind particles on the ionosphere.
HAARP is basically a research facility. There are a number of types of research conducted at HAARP. Much of it is public, although some of the activities are military related and classified.
Some of the classified military-related research that is either being conducted at HAARP or which has been credibly speculated to be conducted at HAARP include:
- General purpose ionospheric science
- Measurements of ionospheric bending of radio waves in order to improve HF direction finding
- The effects of ionospheric disturbances on GPS reliability
- HF communications jamming and countermeasures to jamming
- Next generation over the horizon radar
- Improved understanding of how ionospheric events, such as solar storms or nuclear weapon detonations can impact communications
- The use of ionospheric stimulation as a means of generating ultra low frequency radio waves, which are vital to submarine communication and typically require very large antennas to transmit
Most of the science that goes on at HAARP is public, but even the potentially classified activities are, by most accounts, pretty innocuous, as far as classified research goes. After all, it’s really nothing more than a big radio transmitter. There’s nothing on site that has any real potential to be used as an offensive weapon.
That has not stopped conspiracy theorists. HAARP is one of their favorite facilities. It’s been linked to every other bogus claim from chemtrails to mind control. It’s been said that HAARP can control the world’s weather, that it is responsible for earthquakes or major weather events. Others have claimed that it is the cause of everything from chronic fatigue syndrome to the downing of aircraft and the 2003 loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia.