In recent years, the US Air Force has rapidly made their way into battlefields where they’ve been used to surveil US forces or drop bombs on them and bring about the US military to develop new ways to take them down. This week, the US Air Force released a new tool which can be stationed at bases around the world, a high-powered microwave system called Tactical High Power Microwave Operational Responder (THOR).
It is specifically designed to protect the army bases against the swarm of drones. The Air Force Research Laboratory at the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were previously working on this technology now they have finally developed the system. It uses short-bursts of high-powered microwaves in order to disable unmanned aerial vehicles.
According to a local TV station of KRQE, the system was developed quickly in just 18 months by giving a cost of about $15 million. It runs off of a generator and is stored in a shipping container, means that it can be transported almost anywhere and set up within a couple of hours. In just a few years, the Drone market has experienced massive growth, providing both new potential benefits and dangers.
If we set aside the concerns of commercial airspace, drones could present a possible national security issue as they potentially are used to carry small explosives or to conduct surveillance on critical infrastructure. Previously, taking down a drone was difficult.
Earlier this spring, the Air force has begun testing THOR against short-range targets. On the contrary, another super system, the device contains Counter-Electronic High-Power Microwave Extended-Range Air Base Air Defense (CHIMERA), designed to hit things at medium to long ranges. This system is expected to be delivered sometime next year.
The army predicts that an only enormous problem in this technology is that the swarms of drones would be operating in concert when it wouldn’t matter if one or two are taken down. The system is designed to take out a large number of drones all at once and has more range than bullets or nets. THOR program manager Amber Anderson claims that the system operates as a flashlight and that anything caught in the beam would be taken down in the blink of an eye.
Taking down a drone is a difficult task because they are small and difficult to hit with a gun. In case, the drone is flying above the crowded area then there’s a risk that they could be injured by falling debris or pieces of a drone. Despite the danger, the people have not stopped taking down the drones and tried a variety of methods from conventional defensive systems to nets, eagles, and even shotgun-wielding drones.