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US Army Buys Directed Energy Weapon System to Counter Drone Swarms

Epirus has been awarded a $66.1-million contract to supply its Leonidas high-power microwave weapon to the US Army.

The counter-drone weapon can neutralize targets by zapping their electronics, making them lose contact with their operators.

The Leonidas outperformed six other counter-drone systems during a series of test events to win the sole-source contract.

As part of the agreement, Epirus will deliver several prototypes of the microwave weapon by the end of this year.

The US Army can also exercise options to acquire additional support services for the directed energy system.

“Today’s contract award is a significant step towards bridging the long-established gap between industry innovation and the conventional norms of defense technology procurement,” the American firm said in a statement.

Addressing Drone Threats

Launched in 2020, the Leonidas microwave weapon can disable a single target in crowded spaces and multiple targets across a wide area, including military bases and borders.

It is equipped with solid-state Gallium Nitride power amplifiers to enable high levels of power density without the need for special cooling technology.

Additionally, the weapon can fire a barrage of unique waveforms to exploit frequencies that enemy drones are most susceptible to.

“Time and time again, we’ve seen that current air defense systems are ill-equipped to tackle the threat of autonomous drone swarms,” Epirus chief executive officer Ken Bedingfield said.

“This contract with the RCCTO (Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office) brings new counter-swarm capability to the UAS (unmanned aerial system) fight with our cost-effective, modular, and upgradable Leonidas systems.”

In October last year, Epirus achieved a significant milestone after successfully integrating its Leonidas microwave weapon onto Stryker armored fighting vehicles.

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