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THOR, the US Army microwave weapon for swarms of enemy drones

In many stores we see them promoted directly as toys for children, but nothing is further from the truth in many cases, since unlike a children’s RC car, drones can be very dangerous. In countries like Spain, the current regulations have been issued temporarily and there is still no Law on the Use of Drones properly issued on the matter.

But in other places like the United States they have very clear regulations, also controlled by the FAA, an American national authority with powers to regulate all aspects of civil aviation.

An anti-drones system

The funny thing is that drones, which began as military technology and today are even used to smuggle into prisons, have become so dangerous that they must be controlled. At least this is what the US Army claims, that even already has anti-drone weapons and seeks to shoot down those that seem suspicious.

Weapons like this military buggy equipped with a technology created by the Raytheon company; or the curious option of the Pentagon to hunt drones with nets.

The JCO

The United States Army plans “initiate the development and integration of a high-power microwave capability to destroy threats from small drones beginning in fiscal year 2022, based on budget justification documents published with the financial request of which the DefenseNews.com site echoes. Service plans spend more than $ 50 million in fiscal 2022 to develop technology to counter small drones and is working together with all services to establish a durable architecture of solutions to deal with the threat.

The Department of Defense created the Joint Unmanned Aircraft Office (JCO), directed by the Army, which establishes the way in which a system will be developed to counter small UAS (non-drone flight systems) and a provisional group of systems is created to be used as a bridge to durable capacity.

Microwave Guns

Specifically, the Army is budgeting $ 18.73 million in fiscal 2022 to develop, integrate, and test new technologies that could lead to a solution involving weapons high power microwave, or HPM, which could help neutralize both single drone threats and entire swarms.

An effort is underway to integrate low-side-effect interceptors into a durable system against UAS, but other defeat mechanisms will be developed and incorporated into the architecture.

The Army plans to carry out a development phase to establish high-power microwave capacity from fiscal 2022 through the second quarter of fiscal 2023, according to the schedule established in the documents. Prototyping for the ‘Increment I HPM’ onshore will take place during fiscal 2022, and a system test will be conducted in the first quarter of fiscal 2023, followed by the delivery of a prototype in the third quarter. of fiscal year 2023.

Destroy swarms of drones

The Army also plans launch an HPM capability to destroy drone swarms as part of its indirect fire protection capability system, it will defend fixed sites against drones, cruise missiles, rockets, artillery and mortars. The service is being developed with the Air Force, which is in charge of research and development. The Army provides the funding to build the prototypes.

The weapon known as THOR -o Tactical High Power Operational Responder- it was displayed at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, in February of this year. The Army plans to conduct field tests as early as fiscal year 2024.

THOR: Tactical High Power Operational Responder

As for the low-side-effect interceptor, the Army plans to begin integration and testing of a solution from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 through the third quarter of fiscal 2022. Final integration will end in the first quarter of Fiscal year 2023, and capacity will go into production in the second quarter of fiscal 2023, according to budget documents.

Three providers – Aurora Flight Sciences, owned by Boeing, Elta North America and Xtend – demonstrated low spillover capability this year at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. The demonstration is the first in a series of events, likely to take place twice a year, in which the joint force will examine solutions that fill current capacity gaps and are ready to transition to the field.

The Pentagon is planning its next demonstration of potential capabilities against UAS in September this year, which will focus on manual options for destroying small drones. But how to stop those armed autonomous drones that think for themselves and can fire without human orders?

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