Forty-five down

High-power microwaves and lasers defeat multiple drones during US Army exercise

MRZR High Energy Laser Weapon System

This is the Raytheon laser dune buggy, a solid-state laser combined with an advanced variant of the company’s Multi-Spectral Targeting System of sensors, installed on a small, all-terrain Polaris militarized vehicle. Coupled with a generator, the HEL weapon system provides military members with counter-UAV capabilities and a virtually unlimited magazine. (Monica K. Guthrie, PAO, U.S. Army)

Forty-five unmanned aerial vehicles and drones fell out of the sky, downed by Raytheon’s advanced high-power microwave and laser dune buggy in a U.S. Army exercise. The exercise was known as Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment, or MFIX, and was held at the U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Military and industry leaders gathered at MFIX to demonstrate ways to bridge the Army’s capability gaps in long-range fires and maneuver short-range air defense. Highlights included:

  • Raytheon’s high-power microwave system engaged multiple UAV swarms, downing 33 drones, two and three at a time.
  • Raytheon’s high energy laser, or HEL, system identified, tracked, engaged and downed 12 airborne, maneuvering Class I and II UAVs, and destroyed six stationary mortar projectiles.
forty five body image

The directed energy system emits an adjustable energy beam that, when aimed at airborne targets such as drones, renders them unable to fly. (Monica K. Guthrie, PAO, U.S. Army) (download high-resolution image)


“The speed and low cost per engagement of directed energy is revolutionary in protecting our troops against drones,” said Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. “We have spent decades perfecting the high-power microwave system, which may soon give our military a significant advantage against this proliferating threat.”

Raytheon and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory worked together under a $2 million contract to test and demonstrate high-power microwave, counter-UAV technologies.

“Our customer needed a solution, and they needed it fast,” said Dr. Ben Allison, director of Raytheon’s HEL product line. “So, we took what we’ve learned and combined it with combat-proven components to rapidly deliver a small, self-contained and easily deployed counter-UAV system.”

Last Updated: 03/26/2018