Army invests in Air Force's THOR

By Jaspreet Gill / February 22, 2021 at 12:09 PM

The Army has partnered with the Air Force Research Laboratory on its Tactical High Power Operational Responder in an effort to counter threats posed by enemy drones, the Air Force announced last week.

THOR is a prototype directed-energy weapon that can disable electronics in drones and is specifically engineered to engage multiple threats at once, such as drone swarms, the Feb. 19 press release says.

"The Army's directed-energy capabilities will need to provide a layered defense with multiple ways to defeat incoming threats," Lt. Gen. Neil Thurgood, director of hypersonics, directed energy, space and rapid acquisition, said in the press release. "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 on Feb. 11 met with THOR developers at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM, where the system is going through a series of risk-reduction and characterization efforts prior to being deployed overseas.

"During and after THOR deployment, the [Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office] will continue to partner with the Air Force on the THOR program in support of the U.S. Army's effort to provide a prototype Indirect Fire Protection Capability-High Power Microwave system to a platoon by fiscal year 2024," according to the release.