KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, NM – The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate is looking for partners to build a new counter-electronics weapon system, to defend against the ever-growing threat of activities of opposing drones.
Building on the success of the Tactical High Power Operational Responder technology demonstrator, AFRL is building an advanced high power microwave weapon system to address the growing threat of unmanned aircraft with its latest technology.
âThe new prototype will be called Mjolnir, after the mythical Norse god, Thor’s Hammer,â said Amber Anderson, head of the THOR program. âBecause THOR has been so successful, we wanted to keep the name of the new system in the THOR family. “
The AFRL team, working out of Kirtland Air Force Base, are experts in high power electromagnetic technology. The THOR demonstrator used intense bursts of radio waves to instantly deactivate small unmanned aircraft systems.
âAfter a successful 2 year test campaign, the AFRL team has learned a lot about the benefits of the technology and how it can be improved,â said Anderson.
The Mjolnir prototype will use the same technology, but will bring significant advancements in capacity, reliability and readiness for manufacturing.
âWe are providing an opportunity for directed energy companies to help us build the tracking system,â said Adrian Lucero, deputy director of the THOR program. âAFRL’s goal is to create a model for our partners so that these systems can be produced economically in large quantities, and to develop an infant industry that will become of crucial importance as the United States grows. strive to maintain our superiority in electromagnetic spectrum. “
AFRL works closely with inter-service partners within the Joint Counter sUAS Office and the Army’s Rapid Capability and Critical Technologies Office.
âAs the danger of drone swarms evolves, all departments are working closely together to ensure that emerging technologies like Mjolnir are ready to meet the needs of fighters already engaged against these threats,â Lucero said. “The program will begin this fall with delivery of the prototype weapon in 2023.”
A request for proposal from companies interested in working with AFRL to develop this prototype will be posted on SAM.gov, an official site for businesses looking for federal contracting opportunities.