Microwave electromagnetic weapons may prevail over laser weapons in the battle to defeat unmanned swarms

Aug. 23, 2021
The Air Force has tested its Tactical High Power Microwave Operational Responder (THOR) weapon against various drones, and has deployed it to Africa.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military is racing to deploy new weapons to tackle the threat from small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). That means countering several attackers simultaneously, and microwave-based electromagnetic weapons are considered the obvious choice. Forbes reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

23 Aug. 2021 -- From China’s 48-cell barrage launcher to Israel’s successful deployment of a combat swarm in Gaza, swarming drones are becoming a battlefield reality. Swarm attacks easily can overwhelm existing missile and gun systems.

Laser weapons may look like a solution: precise, speed-of-light-operation, and an infinite magazine, but they have a problem with dwell time. This is the amount of time necessary to hold the laser on target to bring it down. A typical tactical laser can take as long as five seconds. If a laser weapon only can acquire small drones from two kilometers away, then a few dozen cheap drones will overrun the million-dollar laser.

Microwaves work differently. A burst of high-intensity microwaves will overload electronics, causing many failures and knocking a drone out of the sky instantly. The microwave weapon also can swat whole unmanned swarms at once.

Related: High-energy laser weapons move quickly from prototype to deployment

Related: The new era of high-power electromagnetic weapons

Related: Air Force approaches industry for enabling technologies in high-power electromagnetic and microwave weapons

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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