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Army Invests in AFRL’s New Anti-Drone Directed Energy Weapon; Lt. Gen. Neil Thurgood Quoted

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THOR Prototype
THOR Prototype

The U.S. Army is working with Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to further develop the latter's directed energy weapon that attacks swarms of enemy drones. 

The partnership between AFRL and the Army will further build the Tactical High Power Operational Responder or THOR prototype, which can neutralize the electronic components of multiple drones at the same time, the Army said Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. Neil Thurgood, director of hypersonics, directed energy space and rapid acquisition at the Army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, visited Kirtland Air Force Base on Feb.11th to see THOR demonstrated.

“High energy lasers kill one target at a time, and high powered microwaves can kill groups or swarms, which is why we are pursuing a combination of both technologies for our Indirect Fire Protection Capability rapid prototyping effort,” Thurgood said.

The Army wants to prototype a high-power microwave system for indirect fire protection by fiscal year 2024, based on THOR's fielding. THOR is now undergoing trials at Kirtland AFB, in preparation for overseas deployment.