New Microwave-Based Counter-Drone Tech Under Development

New Microwave-Based Counter-Drone Tech Under Development

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High-power microwave (HPM) weapons provide non-kinetic defeat of targets. The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) will develop a new HPM weapon system prototype, building upon the existing Tactical High-Power Operational Responder (THOR) technology demonstrator.

According to the US Department of Defense, Leidos has been selected to develop and build the prototype. The new system, dubbed Mjolnir, is intended to demonstrate advances in high-power microwave technology for counter-unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) missions. Leidos was selected in the competition ahead of four rival bids. According to the AFRL, Mjolnir prototype development is intended to capitalize on earlier HPM systems, according to

The “mature prototype” will be based on the THOR first-generation C-UAS HPM demonstrator. 

AFRL completed the successful THOR program developing a counter-drone technology for airbase defense. The THOR system was developed by BAE Systems in partnership with Leidos, Verus Research, and AFRL. Designed to disable the electronics in multiple unmanned aerial vehicles, it provides a capability against swarm attacks. 

According to AFRL, Mjolnir will use that same basic technology to address the C-UAS threat, but will introduce advances in capability, reliability, and manufacturing readiness. The contract is worth $27 million.

Work is expected to be completed by the end of February 2024.