Raytheon's HEL weapon system

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.

The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center came prepared to showcase improvements to its premiere software system, the Maneuver, Aviation and Fires Integrated Application, part of the Battle Operations Software Suite. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

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.

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)

“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.”


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