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The US Army has a new plan for microwaving drones out of the sky. In a public solicitation last Friday, the agency announced its intention to purchase an airborne high-powered microwave system from Lockheed Martin, which is intended for use against drones. The weapon, which would be mounted to an airplane, would disable fixed-wing or quadcopter drones with a beam of focused radiation.

Drone countermeasures are particularly relevant in the wake of an apparent assassination attempt against Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro that was carried out by a pair of hexacopter drones rigged with remote-triggered explosives. Public video collected by Bellingcat indicates the attack was carried out by drones similar to DJI’s Matrice 600. Each drone was equipped with a kilogram of C4 explosive, according to a statement by Venezuelan security forces. The Matrice 600’s maximum carrying capacity is 5.5 kilograms.

The Army’s new system comes on the heels of a similar microwave system that was developed by Lockheed Martin for the Air Force called the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator or “SHiELD.” Intended for use against incoming missiles, the project was the subject of a $26 million design award in November 2017.

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Category: Science