Microwave weapons

AN/AWW-14(V)

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Raytheon Co. Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona, has been awarded a $16,289,702 agreement for one prototype Phaser high power microwave system. This agreement provides for outside continental U.S. (OCONUS) field assessment for purposes of experimentation. Experimentation includes, but is not limited to 12 months of in-field operation by Air Force personnel against unmanned aerial systems threats.

 

AN/AWW-14(V)

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190924-F-F3456-1001.JPG



The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), showcased its $15 million high-power microwave weapon that can instantaneously kill swarms of enemy drones within minutes. The New Mexico-made weapon, nick-named THOR (Tactical High Power Microwave Operational Responder), was demonstrated live at the Kirkland US Air Force Base where it destroyed a drone with invisible and inaudible electromagnetic waves.

According to Kelly Hammett, the Head of AFRL's Directed Energy Directorate in Albuquerque, with a rise in constant military threats from enemy drones, the AFRL worked on the system with an expedited 18-month timeline so as to ensure that the system was provided to US warfighters as soon as possible and help them protect military bases from multiple-drone attacks.
AFRL has been developing microwave and laser defense technology for years, including collaboration with Raytheon, which built its own anti-drone microwave system in recent years. The trials, however, showed some limitations when integrating Raytheon's system with other military technologies and battlefield tactics and protocols. Raytheon has since invested more resources to further develop its system, which could still be deployed in the future by the military. But AFRL chose to also build THOR to offer different operating capabilities and more options for the military to rapidly meet urgent defense needs, according to Hammett.

The THOR system is designed for rapid deployment wherever needed, with the microwave antennae and foundation stored in a shipping container transported on a flatbed truck. The equipment is stored in parts for easy, snap-together assembly in just three hours. It takes only two people to set it up and three to tear it down, according to AFRL. The antennas are controlled by a handheld remote in all directions as needed, providing 360-degree defense against drones. The firing mechanism and overall system control are operated from a laptop.

AFRL spent nearly $15 million to develop the weapon system but expects it to cost around $10 million once the U.S. DoD adopts it for deployment. The weapon was built in co-operation with BAE Systems, Leidos and Verus Research.

 
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edwest2

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So, the science-fiction is being deployed. High Energy Weapons.
 

sferrin

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I'd like to see it try to take out an actual maneuvering swarm rather than one hovering drone.
 

Forest Green

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I'd like to see it try to take out an actual maneuvering swarm rather than one hovering drone.
Fair point. Focusing the energy on one drone and being successful doesn't mean you can take out a swarm quickly enough. Also depends on effective range. I would personally come down in favour of a 40mm autocannon on this one. The ammo probably costs less than a drone, so it's still a frugal exchange rate.
 

sferrin

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I'd like to see it try to take out an actual maneuvering swarm rather than one hovering drone.
Fair point. Focusing the energy on one drone and being successful doesn't mean you can take out a swarm quickly enough. Also depends on effective range. I would personally come down in favour of a 40mm autocannon on this one. The ammo probably costs less than a drone, so it's still a frugal exchange rate.

40 mm cannon wouldn't have a hope in hell of coping.
 

Forest Green

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40 mm cannon wouldn't have a hope in hell of coping.
With air-bursting rounds? I'm sure it would, you might even get several drones with one round depending on how close they are.

For a microwave weapon, really you want a phased array antenna so that you can switch targets rapidly.
 

sferrin

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40 mm cannon wouldn't have a hope in hell of coping.
With air-bursting rounds? I'm sure it would, you might even get several drones with one round depending on how close they are.

Good luck trying to deal with things like these:


A gun mount is going to have a hell of a time even training on one of these things, let alone trying to anticipate where it will be when the shell arrives. Now try that 50 or a hundred times in the time it take the swarm to cross the guns envelope and take it out.

For a microwave weapon, really you want a phased array antenna so that you can switch targets rapidly.

Yep. And lasers that don't rely on giant turrets.
 

Forest Green

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With air-bursting rounds? I'm sure it would, you might even get several drones with one round depending on how close they are.

Good luck trying to deal with things like these:


A gun mount is going to have a hell of a time even training on one of these things, let alone trying to anticipate where it will be when the shell arrives. Now try that 50 or a hundred times in the time it take the swarm to cross the guns envelope and take it out.


Yep. And lasers that don't rely on giant turrets.
I guess it depends on the number of drones but I don't see the microwave weapon featured above fairing much better. With a PA it would be a different story.

I read that they have created phased array lasers somewhere, but I don't know what state of development they're in right now.
 

sferrin

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This would suggest that the problem (rapidly training a laser, at least through a sector) is a known technology. (Watch to the end.)

 

Forest Green

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Found this:


 

dan_inbox

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Hrm. What exactly is the motivation for circulating such info?
Help the foreign spies not miss it?
 

edwest2

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Of course, this is five years behind what they really have so, no worries.
 

AN/AWW-14(V)

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AN/AWW-14(V)

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Lockheed Martin showcased its MoRFIUS C-sUAS capability that it is working on with the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. MoRFIUS uses high-power microwave technology in an aerial platform. That capability can be used to extend the range beyond current counter-drone defeat systems to defeat drone swarms. MoRFIUS is a recoverable and reusable technology.
 

riggerrob

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This would suggest that the problem (rapidly training a laser, at least through a sector) is a known technology. (Watch to the end.)

Now all you need to do is scale it up to 100MW and you have a missile point defence system.

Perhaps national space agencies will devote billions of dollars to laser-tag enemy satellites with rude messages.
Hah!
Hah!
Can you imagine the worst Russian, teenaged stoner, emo, goth, punk, etc. graffiti artist accepting a commission to laser etch something rude on the exterior hull of an American satellite? Even funnier if Americans do not discover the graffiti for a few more decades.
Hah!
Hah!
 

Forest Green

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This would suggest that the problem (rapidly training a laser, at least through a sector) is a known technology. (Watch to the end.)

Now all you need to do is scale it up to 100MW and you have a missile point defence system.

Perhaps national space agencies will devote billions of dollars to laser-tag enemy satellites with rude messages.
Hah!
Hah!
Can you imagine the worst Russian, teenaged stoner, emo, goth, punk, etc. graffiti artist accepting a commission to laser etch something rude on the exterior hull of an American satellite? Even funnier if Americans do not discover the graffiti for a few more decades.
Hah!
Hah!
Could be used to damage sensors.
 

TomcatViP

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“This technology is moving really fast and we are evaluating both microwave and lasers as solutions for stopping drones,” said Col. Salvatore Lombardi, director of the Air Force’s UAV center of excellence at Amendola Air Base, southern Italy, which trains personnel, studies capabilities and develops standards.
[...]
“The development of better batteries gives drones more processing power, which in turn allows them to be more autonomous, which in turn means we cannot expect to track the instructions they are sent,” the company official said.

Any technology developed to counter a threat will always generate technology to overcome it, and the official said he expects to see drones devised to take out the radars that spot them.

“In the future we could see kamikaze drones targeting radar, like an anti-radiation missile. That means the radar you use has to be harder to spot by a drone. We are working on radars that use reduced power, change frequency constantly and transmit intermittently,” he said.

 

TomcatViP

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Probably but the kinetic energy build-up during the flight being generally maximized upon reaching the target and the probable small effective range of the system would make it a low performer in that scenario.
What it can do is force cruise missile attack profiles up in a volume of space more favorable for engagement by other means of defense.
 

riggerrob

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The real question is does it cook passing pigeon's?
Hopefully. It's now illegal to kill them in the UK, so hopefully this can kind of neutralise them a bit while a cat takes care of the rest.

As much as NIMBYs complain about wind turbines killing birds, domestic cats kill millions more per year.
 

Forest Green

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The real question is does it cook passing pigeon's?
Hopefully. It's now illegal to kill them in the UK, so hopefully this can kind of neutralise them a bit while a cat takes care of the rest.

As much as NIMBYs complain about wind turbines killing birds, domestic cats kill millions more per year.
Not enough, not nearly enough. It's a shame they can't be trained to kill those who feed pigeons as well.
 

aonestudio

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bring_it_on

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Area denial systems (operating in the millimeter wave) are already used by a number of militaries. These HPM DEW's are more about targeting unmanned systems and in the long term, ballistic and cruise missiles.
 
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publiusr

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More a hot-foot than anything else.
MARAUDER (see the wiki) sounds like a ball lightning cannon
 

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