U.S. weapons maker Raytheon has been awarded a $16,2 million contract by the Air Force for one prototype Phaser high power microwave system, according to a statement issued by U.S. Department of Defense.
The Department of Defense said Monday that Raytheon Co. Missile Systems won a contract for electromagnetic ‘phaser’ gun system designed to knock drones out of the sky.
This agreement provides for outside continental U.S. (OCONUS) field assessment for purposes of experimentation. Experimentation includes, but is not limited to 12 months of in-field operation by Air Force personnel against unmanned aerial systems threats. In addition, experimentation includes but is not limited to operator training, in theater maintenance of systems while collecting availability (full mission capable, partial mission capable, non-mission capable), reliability, maintainability and supportability data, and system operation against real-world or simulated hostile vignettes without disrupting other necessary installation operations.
The location of performance is OCONUS and is expected to be completed by Dec. 20, 2020.
According to the current information, the Phaser is a high-powered microwave system that can detect and track threats using its own radar and attack targets with powerful radio waves. The directed energy system emits an adjustable energy beam that, when aimed at airborne targets such as drones, renders them unable to fly.
The high-powered microwave weapon technology enables a greater range than bullets or nets and causes less of a disruption to military operations due to its instantaneous effect.
During the October 2018 experimentation event at White Sands Missile Range, N. M., this system used high power microwave to disrupt and destroy small unmanned aerial systems.
Also reported that the Phaser system eliminated 33 drones, 2-3 at a time, during the U.S. Army’s MFIX exercise in 2018.