Air Force investigates attacking swarms of enemy unmanned aircraft with bursts of high-power microwaves

May 13, 2021
A sky full of enemy unmanned aircraft would fail in different ways, some crashing to the ground, and others staggering in place or veering off course.

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – For military experts tasked with securing bases against assault, preventing damage from a swarm of explosive-laden unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) means stopping the entire swarm, not just removing a few moving pieces. Popular Science reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

13 May 2021 -- That is why the Air Force is testing a new weapon, one that targets the electronics that makes the swarm work, all at once.

To defeat swarms like this, the US military is developing THOR, or the Tactical High Power Operational Responder. Built for the Air Force Research Laboratory, THOR is one way that bases or other military installations might defend themselves against aerial robots traveling in groups.

Instead of using bullets or explosions to disable robots, THOR attacks their electronics by hitting the gaggle with high-power microwaves. The effect can vary, from temporarily impairing their ability to communicate to frying the electronics and destroying machines in the swarm.

Related: Directed-energy weapons taking big steps forward

Related: Lockheed Martin to develop high-power microwave weapons to destroy or disable enemy drones

Related: The new era of high-power electromagnetic weapons

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!