According to the official HAARP website at http://w3.nrl.navy.mil/haarp.html, the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program is a research project aimed at an extensive study of the properties and behavior of the ionosphere. The main thrust of the project is to understand the ionosphere in order to 'enhance communications and surveillance systems for both civilian and defense purposes.' They are supposed to be studying natural ionospheric processes, what goes on there, and how solar activity and other phenomena affect it, as well as studying how the natural ionosphere affects radio communications in order to develop techniques that would improve the reliability and/or performance of communication and navigation systems. The project is being managed jointly by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research, but its specifications were supposedly developed by a consortium of universities who are interested in ionospheric research. The Department of Defense says that is only interested in this field because of its use of many communication and navigation systems that are dependent on the ionosphere and ionospheric phenomena.
The facility is being built some 8 miles north of Gakona, Alaska, as Alaska is the only state that is in the Auroral Region. The project has a set of highly sophisticated scientific instruments that are supposed to be used for studying the ionosphere, both in its natural state and when the IRI is inducing changes in it. It also involves building the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI), an array of 180 high-frequency radio antennas covering an area of 36 acres, with a total output of some 3.6 megawatts of radio energy. This device is supposed to 'excite a limited area of the ionosphere for scientific study.' As of this writing (September 2002), the IRI is not yet complete, but for now has 48 transmitters with a total power output of 960 kW.
Other groups are skeptical of these claims that the HAARP project is mere benign scientific research, although that is undeniably part of what is being done there. Some scientists fear that there is a far more sinister side to the HAARP researches, which range from mind control conspiracy theories to weapons of mass destruction that are capable of locally controlling the weather, to space-age weapons that are able to disrupt radio communications and radar anywhere in the world. Some of these claims are far-fetched, but others are credible enough to have raised concern in bodies such as the Russian Duma, 90 of whose members have recently sent an appeal to President Vladimir Putin and the United Nations for the drafting of a treaty that would ban the type of large-scale geophysical experiments represented by HAARP.
Update: November 17, 2005. The HAARP array has just added an additional 132 more high-frequency radio transmitters to the IRI, bringing it up to the intended 180 transmitters planned, with a maximum output power of some 4 gigawatts.
The Official HAARP website at: http://w3.nrl.navy.mil/haarp.html
Begich, Nicolas, "Angels don't Play This HAARP!", http://www.leadingedgenews.com/angels.htm
Interfax News Agency, "US HAARP Weapon Development Concerns Russian Duma," http://www.rense.com/general28/deathray.htm
Chossudovsky, Michel, "Washington's New World Order Weapons Have The Ability To Trigger Climate Change," http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO201A.html