ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The U.S. military recently tested a new, high-powered microwave weapon built by Raytheon in New Mexico to down swarms of incoming drones and missiles.
Raytheon successfully demonstrated the system in December during an Army exercise at Fort Sill, Ok., where the ground-based weapon shot down 33 unmanned aerial vehicles with high-power electromagnetic waves, simultaneously knocking out groups of two-to-three drones at a time, said Raytheon New Mexico site director Susan Kelly.
“At one point in the final demonstration scenario, there were eight drones coming at us from different directions in groups of two and three and we took them all out,” Kelly said. “We showed the system is now ready and available as a counter-swarm weapon to down multiple drones at once.”
The prospect of incoming swarms of UAVs is a rapidly-emerging battlefield threat, and the U.S. military is considering laser and microwave weapons as a way to counter them, Kelly said. In the Fort Sill experiment, Raytheon also demonstrated its high energy laser to destroy 12 more UAVs in flight, plus six stationary mortar projectiles.