U.S. Air Force THOR Drone Killer to Be Joined by "Hammer" Weapon System

n artist’s rendering of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s THOR 6 photos
Photo: U.S. Air Force
Illustration of U.S. Air Force THOR weapon systemIllustration of U.S. Air Force THOR weapon systemU.S. Air Force THOR weapon systemU.S. Air Force THOR weapon systemIllustration of drone swarms
The U.S. Air Force THOR drone killer, capable of taking the enemy's drones at the speed of light, is welcoming a new "hammer" weapon. Aptly called Mjolnir (hammer of the thunder god Thor in Norse mythology), the follow-on microwave weapon system will add important advances in capability and reliability.
Drones are currently used to surveil operations, destroy infrastructure, and attack personnel. The Air Force Research Laboratory is developing an upgraded high-power microwave weapon system to combat the growing threat of unmanned aircraft. Mjolnir will be based on the Tactical High-Power Operational Responder (THOR) technology demonstration.

Recently unveiled, THOR is a high-power microwave weapon system that can send extremely high-voltage bursts of electromagnetic energy capable of taking down multiple drones at the same time. It can fit inside a shipping container and be easily transported and implemented on bases all around the world.

THOR's powerful radio wave bursts offer "a greater engagement range than bullets or nets, and its effects are silent and instantaneous." Its usefulness has already been successfully demonstrated in real-world tests where it defeated hundreds of unmanned aerial systems.

After a two-year testing program, the Air Force Research Laboratory has gained an understanding of the technology's benefits and how it may be enhanced. Those improvements will be part of the new Mjolnir prototype.

While it will use the same technology, it will be more capable and reliable than THOR. The Air Force intends to develop a blueprint for its partners so that these systems may be mass-produced in a cost-effective manner.

"As the danger from drone swarms evolves, all services are working closely to ensure emerging technologies like Mjolnir will be ready to support the needs of warfighters already engaged against these threats. The program will begin this fall with a delivery of the prototype weapon in 2023," says Adrian Lucero, THOR deputy program manager.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows illustration of U.S. Air Force THOR.

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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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