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Raytheon announced that its Counter-Electronic High-Power Microwave Extended-Range Air Base Defense (CHIMERA) has completed a three-week field test in which it managed to fry static targets and track aerial targets flawlessly.

During testing, CHIMERA utilized directed energy to engage multiple static targets and successfully demonstrated end-to-end fire control by acquiring and tracking aerial targets through their entire flight paths.

According to Interesting Engineering, CHIMERA is a ground-based demonstration system that uses radio energy to defeat airborne threats with more power than other high-power microwave systems. Such systems are very inexpensive to fire once built and their ammunition is limited only by the availability of power, making them suitable to take on drones that attack in large numbers.

President of Advanced Technology at Raytheon Colin Whelan stated: “High-power microwave systems are cost-effective and reliable solutions that play an important role in layered defense by increasing magazine depth and giving warfighters more options to defeat adversaries quickly.”

CHIMERA is a component of the Directed Energy Front-line Electromagnetic Neutralization and Defeat (DEFEND) program to create HPM systems for deployment at the front line. Furthermore, Raytheon recently announced that as part of this program it has also developed an HPM weapon system for the US Army. The systems are designed to be sturdy and easily transportable for deployment on the front lines.

The partnership between the US Air Force Research Lab, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, and the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering aims to deliver prototypes in the fiscal years 2024 and 2026.

“Non-kinetic defense systems are a key part of America’s national defense strategy,” said Whelan, “The new iterations of Raytheon’s high-power microwave systems are cost-effective and reliable solutions that operate at the speed of light – enabling our warfighters to defend against faster and more maneuverable threats.”