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Epirus Unveils Microwave Counter-Drone Pod

California-based technology startup Epirus has unveiled a drone-deployed electronic warfare pod that uses a high-power microwave to disable swarms of unmanned aerial systems.

The Leonidas Pod reportedly leverages the company’s ground-based microwave system, which uses solid-state “gallium nitride transistors to produce microwaves,” in place of the magnetron vacuum tubes currently used in military radar.

Epirus CEO Leigh Madden explained to Defense One that the transition helped developers make the system smaller, allowing it to be fitted underneath a drone while maintaining the beam’s durability at reduced power.

Friend-or-Foe Identification 

Madden added that the system allows its operator to distinguish between friendly and enemy drones.

“We can take sensor inputs from blue force trackers in the military, or IFF transponders on an aircraft, we can actually put a [protective sphere] around that friendly system and wherever that system goes, that [sphere] follows. That’s driven by the software-defined ability of the system.”

The pod comes with multiple mount options and provides a comprehensive counter-drone capability when deployed alongside the company’s ground-based microwave system.

“The newly introduced Leonidas Pod enables a range of mission capabilities and, with multiple mount options to maximize portability, can advance directly to the threat environment. With Leonidas deployed alongside a drone-mounted Leonidas Pod, the systems work in unison to achieve greater power and range and create a layered defense forcefield,” the company stated.

Cheaper and More Effective

Compared to non-kinetic, drone-mounted options using a range of munitions, the pod is far more cost-effective and allows a far more rapid rate of fire without the concern for “reloading and overheating.”

Moreover, the system battery can be switched on and off, extending its life and allowing users to take the system to far-off areas or use it for an extended period.

Epirus Chief Product Officer Andy Lowery stated, “Epirus’ revolutionary approach to power management has ushered in breakthrough electronic warfare systems to fill immediate capability gaps. With the continued advancement of Leonidas and now with the rapid commercialization of Leonidas Pod, Epirus continues to prove that lasting innovation does not have to take decades.”

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