Armed Forces to deploy radio-wave tech to take down enemy drones

The government has unveiled a ‘game changing’ new technology that it is claimed can be used to disable enemy weapons systems from long distance in land, air and sea environments

UK armed forces will soon operate a “game-changing” weapon to tackle enemy technology, the government has said.

Currently under development, the system will be designed to use radio waves to disable electronics and take down multiple drones at once.  The Radio Frequency Directed Energy Weapon (RFDEW) is intended to detect, track and engage a range of threats across land, air, and sea, according to the government.

The technology will then disrupt or damage critical electronic components of enemy devices, downing drones with “instant effect”, and can already affect targets up to 1km away – with ongoing work to extend this range, the government added.

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It is also hoped that RFDEW will significantly cut defence costs compared with existing air defence systems, with the cost per shot to be 10p. Increased automation mean that the tech will also require only one person to operate it. The weapon will undergo field testing this summer, with military personnel expected to start using it in the coming years.

UK minister for defence procurement James Cartlidge said: “We are already a force to be reckoned with on science and technology, and developments like RFDEW not only make our personnel more lethal and better protected on the battlefield, but also keep the UK a world leader on innovative military kit. The war in Ukraine has shown us the importance of deploying uncrewed systems, but we must be able to defend against them too. As we ramp up our defence spending in the coming years, our Defence Drone Strategy will ensure we are at the forefront of this warfighting evolution. RFDEW technology can be mounted on a variety of military vehicles and uses a mobile power source to produce pulses of Radio Frequency energy in a beam that can rapidly fire sequenced shots at individual targets or be broadened to simultaneously engage all threats within that beam.”

Sofia Villegas

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