US Air Force’s THOR Microwave Weapon Shoots Down Drone Swarm

The US Air Force’s Tactical High-Power Operational Responder (THOR) microwave weapon has neutralized a swarm of drones in a recent trial.

Conducted at the Chestnut Test Site in New Mexico, the activity simulated a real-world swarm attack on military assets.

THOR engaged the targets and knocked them out of the sky using its non-kinetic, speed-of-light microwave pulses.

According to THOR program manager Adrian Lucero, the weapon proved effective in neutralizing multiple targets even though it had never before been tested against the types of drones used in the trial.

“THOR was exceptionally effective at disabling the swarm with its wide beam, high peak powers, and fast-moving gimbal to track and disable the targets,” he explained.

Addressing Drone Threats

As drone threats become increasingly sophisticated, many countries have invested billions in bolstering their counter-drone capabilities.

The US, for example, has been exploring different technologies to protect against such threats.

Investments in directed energy to counter drone swarms have also increased to provide better and more effective protection to US military personnel anywhere in the world.

Apart from the THOR weapon system, the US plans to deploy the Leonidas high-power microwave weapon that neutralizes drones by zapping their electronics.

Furthermore, BlueHalo received a $46-million contract last month for the production of a 20-kilowatt anti-drone high-energy laser to be mounted on infantry squad vehicles.

“[The Air Force Research Laboratory] is committed to developing such advanced technologies to defend our service members on the front lines,” AFRL high power electromagnetics division chief Ken Miller stressed.