U.S. military bases across the globe may soon have a New Mexico-made, high-powered microwave weapon at their disposal to instantaneously down swarms of enemy drones.
The Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base unveiled the weapon Thursday morning in a live demonstration with local reporters, who watched the system effortlessly knock a hovering drone out of the sky with an invisible and inaudible electromagnetic wave.
The $15 million system, called the Tactical High Power Microwave Operational Responder, or THOR, disabled the unmanned aerial vehicle in a flash, sending it spiraling to the ground the moment the electromagnetic ray hit it. Had more drones been flying within THOR’s expansive scope, they also would have dropped in an instant, THOR program manager Amber Anderson said.
“It operates like a flashlight,” Anderson said after the demonstration. “It spreads out when the operator hits the button, and anything within that cone will be taken down. It engages in the blink of an eye.”