US Air Force personnel used Raytheon-built microwave systems and high-energy lasers to bring down dozens of small drones during a recent exercise.
The target drones were flying both alone and in swarms.
Airmen took control of both the microwave and laser systems after just one day’s training. According to the firm, they used an Xbox-style controller to direct the laser and a joystick to operate the high-power microwave in real-world scenarios at the US Army White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
“Countering the drone threat requires diverse solutions,” said Stefan Baur, Raytheon Electronic Warfare Systems vice president.
The HEL system, paired with Raytheon’s Multi-spectral Targeting System of sensors, uses invisible beams of light. Mounted on a small, all-terrain, militarised vehicle, the system detects, identifies, tracks and engages drones.
Raytheon’s HPM uses microwave energy to disrupt drone guidance systems. High-power microwave operators can focus the beam to bring down drone swarms. With a consistent power supply, an HPM system can provide virtually unlimited protection.