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The properties of microwave-induced breakdown of air in narrow metallic slots are investigated, both theoretically and experimentally, with emphasis on factors important for protection against transmission of incident high-power microwave radiation. The key factors investigated are breakdown power threshold, breakdown time, peak-leakage power, and total transmitted energy, as functions of incident pulse shape and power density. The theoretical investigation includes estimates of the electric field intensification in narrow slots and basic breakdown plasma modeling. New results important for application to the high-power microwave field, such as the influence of pulse shape on breakdown time and peak-leakage power, are presented. The experimental investigation comprises a set of slot breakdown experiments at atmospheric pressure, which are analyzed to extract key parameters, such as transmission cross section, breakdown time, peak leakage power, and transmitted energy. The experimental data is compared and shown to be in good agreement with results obtained in the theoretical investigation.