High-power microwaves and lasers defeat drones in U.S. Army exercise

March 20, 2018  - By
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Forty-five unmanned aerial vehicles and drones fell out of the sky during a U.S. Army exercise after Raytheon’s advanced high-power microwave and laser dune buggy engaged and destroyed them.

These common threats were knocked down during a Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX), held in December at the Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

The directed energy system emits an adjustable energy beam that renders drones unable to fly. (Photo: U.S. Army)

The directed energy system emits an adjustable energy beam that, when aimed at airborne targets such as drones, renders them unable to fly.

The MFIX event brought military and industry leaders together to demonstrate ways to bridge the Army’s capability gaps in long-range fires and maneuver short-range air defense.

Raytheon’s high-power microwave system engaged multiple UAV swarms, downing 33 drones, two and three at a time.

Raytheon’s high-energy laser, or HEL, system identified, tracked, engaged and killed 12 airborne, maneuvering Class I and II UAVs, and destroyed six stationary mortar projectiles.

The vehicle-mounted laser is installed on an all-terrain Polaris militarized vehicle. (Photo: U.S. Army)

The vehicle-mounted laser combined a solid state laser with an advanced variant of the company’’s Multi-Spectral Targeting System™ and installed them on a small, all-terrain Polaris militarized vehicle.

The system delivers 300 seconds of invisible, precise and instantaneous energy and five hours of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from a single charge, Raytheon said.

Coupled with a generator, the HEL weapon system provides military members with counter-UAV capabilities and a virtually unlimited magazine.

https://youtu.be/f9sqhUkUf-Q

“The speed and low cost per engagement of directed energy is revolutionary in protecting our troops against drones,” said Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. “We have spent decades perfecting the high-power microwave system, which may soon give our military a significant advantage against this proliferating threat.”

Raytheon and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory worked together under a $2 million contract to test and demonstrate high-power microwave, counter-UAV capabilities.

“Our customer needed a solution, and they needed it fast,” said Ben Allison, director of Raytheon’s HEL product line. “So, we took what we’ve learned and combined it with combat-proven components to rapidly deliver a small, self-contained and easily deployed counter-UAV system.”

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About the Author:


Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006, and also is editor of GPS World’s sister website, Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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