If we’ve learnt anything from the movies, its that when the world faces uncertain peril, we need superheroes to come to save us, or Godzilla, or the US military – I can’t quite decide anymore. It seems though that the US military is getting in on the superhero act as they have unveiled a new plan to counter any potential drone threat that could occur in the future with a new tool to be stationed at bases around the world.
This new system is a high-powered microwave system called Tactical High-Power Microwave Operational Responder (THOR) which is designed to bring down any number of drones that can get caught in its beams. Something which the military believes will be become a massive threat in the future as many countries (read China) develop a range of unmanned aircraft and drones with military capabilities. Considering that drones themselves are potentially quite small and difficult for other defence mechanisms to target effectively, a system that could cover a large area and essentially blind these AI-powered systems quickly was required which has led to the development of this new technology.
The system pretty effective though would be cooler if it could include some lightning effects after its superhero namesake too. The Air Force Research Laboratory at the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, developed the system, which uses short bursts of high-powered microwaves to disable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). According to local TV station KRQE, the system was developed quickly (18 months) for about $15 million. It runs off a generator and is stored in a shipping container, meaning it can be transported almost anywhere and set up within a couple of hours, allowing for quick response to any pending drone threat.
The Air Force began testing THOR against short-range targets earlier this spring, while another system, the Counter-Electronic High-Power Microwave Extended-Range Air Base Air Defence (CHIMERA – disappointed they didn’t try and work around the name Mjolnir instead) is designed to hit things at medium to long ranges. That system is expected to be delivered sometime next year.
Last Updated: June 25, 2019