After the drones played a very important role in the Ukraine war, and were a dangerous player that changed the course of the fighting, the United States and other developed countries intensified their efforts to develop technology capable of to shoot down large numbers of enemy drones, whether military or commercial A US company has announced that it has been able to install a small device under a drone that releases high energy and accurate microwave waves to shoot down enemy drones, which is a new development in the microwave technology race as an effective weapon along with lasers and other technologies. To the battlefields?
Rewrite the rules of war
Seven weeks after the Russian attack on Ukraine, drones on both sides were decisive for the war, although the Ukrainians were on the defensive and achieved better results against the massive Russian army, as a civilian team worked with Ukrainian military units to a convoy of tanks and armored vehicles. What was on its way to Kiev, with about 1,000 cheap Ukrainian, Turkish, American and commercial drones, caused huge losses in the ranks of the Russian armored forces, which cost millions of dollars, causing the drones to rewrite the rules. of war.
For the Ukrainians, the drones were and still are their eyes in the air, not only to launch attacks, but also to explore and monitor the movements of Russian artillery, which enabled them to reduce their losses and the To rescue Ukrainian people, and according to John Parachini, a military researcher at the US RAND Corporation, “the tank was necessary to resolve battles at some point, but now drones are perhaps the most decisive weapon system, based on a broad operational mode in Ukraine has been confirmed despite the use of combat drones in various locations around the world such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and others, and the US military has had 11 Thousands of large and expensive systems.
For this reason, sales of military drones are expected to increase by about 7 percent annually, reaching $ 18 billion in 2026, compared to about $ 13 billion in 2021, according to Business International.
However, the advantage of drones in Ukraine is not permanent, as armies are adding new capabilities to destroy these aircraft or stop the radio broadcast on which they rely. The world is investing heavily in anti-drone technology because of its danger, efficiency and low cost. compared to other weapon systems.
The U.S. military, for example, has been looking for years for a variety of ways to eliminate hostile drones, from burglary and stalemate to lasers deployed on ships and trucks, until targeted microwave energy emerged as a promising option, but the range of conventional microwave. weapons were not on the maps. A high degree of efficiency was required, as it was not accurate enough in an environment where friendly and hostile drones mixed.
But California-based startup Epirus on Monday announced a solution to this problem by installing a system called LeonidasPod inside a package that emits ultra-high-powered microwaves, and fitting it under heavy drones. It can therefore quickly shoot down swarms of enemy drones during their flight.
According to “New Scientist”, the “Leonidas Pod” device generates a jet of microwaves (microwave) to overload and trap the target’s electronic devices, causing drones to fall from the sky, and this system builds on previous technology of other ground-based microwave weapons. The company, which was mounted on trucks or boats, used gallium nitride transistors to produce high microwave power, rather than microwave tubes that amplify microwaves and result in a flow of electronics controlled by an external magnetic field, the kind that armies have. used in radars for decades.
“Leonidas technology” uses artificial intelligence-controlled power amplifiers to achieve extremely high levels of power, is characterized by low size and weight, the ability to start in minutes rather than hours, with a high accuracy rate in the case of swarms of drones , as well as significant savings In terms of cost, compared to conventional kinetic solutions of other weapons such as missiles or anti-aircraft guns, according to Epirus on its official website.
Although the “gallium nitride” radar technology appeared as a research field around 2004, it only made its way to the technology of combating drones a few years ago, and its operational efficiency in recent months has been practically demonstrated by experiments. in front of U.S. Department of Defense officials, when the device was able to deactivate 66 drones sent.
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The United States is rushing to develop countermeasures against the widely deployed military and commercial drones that, according to military and law enforcement officials, pose growing tactical threats to everything from military bases and refineries to mass rallies, especially after militias and rebel groups, including the Islamic State, ” Use drones and provide explosives to attack prominent targets, including commercial ships and armored combat vehicles, In January, the Iraqi air defenses shot down two explosive-laden drones as they approached the Ain Al-Asad air base, which is hosting US forces west of Baghdad.
The proliferation of low-cost drones has increased the need to find an alternative to conventional air defense, such as surface-to-air missiles, which can cost $ 3 million each, and the Pentagon has encouraged large defense companies to develop so-called targeted energy weapons. sizes and costs of destroying unmanned aerial vehicles using lasers or microwaves.
Since then, “Boeing” and “General Atomics” have been working on the development of a ground-based laser with a capacity of 300 kilowatts to target drones as well as missiles and other aircraft, and Raytheon Technology, “KBR” and “Cord Technology” past won a $ 123 million contract to supply the U.S. military with 50-kilowatt lasers installed on eight-wheeled armored combat vehicles.
outside the battlefield
The need for these weapons is not limited to military purposes, but extends to civilian security operations outside the battlefield, as drones have become cheaper and more widespread, thereby increasing the possibility of damage to civilian sites.In December 2018, the Gatwick- airport closed In London for two days after it was reported that mysterious drones had not been found, circling the air around the runways, and for fear that the collision would drop off a passenger plane, the army was deployed and more than 1,000 flights were carried out. has been canceled.
Other threats identified include planes flying near ambulances and rescue helicopters, attacks in civilian areas, reconnaissance of nuclear sites, invasion of privacy, and even as a distraction to help criminals.
In recent years, targeted energy weapons have also been used against human targets. In 2017, US embassy staff in Cuba complained that they suddenly heard noises and pressure in their ears, followed by symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and loss of cognitive function, which was described as “Havana syndrome” and attributed to a kind of new directional energy weapon .
While defense and technology companies are announcing their new capabilities in this area, other countries are continuing to develop their technology to reduce the dangers of drones, which have proven beyond any doubt that they are more dangerous and effective than previously believed by Ukraine. war.