The Russian government is backing a military research project to develop a powerful microwave-based weapon designed to take out unmanned enemy drones from up to half a mile away.
The country’s United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation (UIMC) created the microwave gun specifically to disrupt the electronics of enemy missiles. Using the ultra-high frequency waves the weapon can completely disable aircraft communications, resulting in loss of control.
The destructive rays, which belong to a group of warfare technologies known as directed-energy weapons (DEW), will be emitted from surface-to-air Buk missile systems.
A UIMC spokesperson told Sputnik News that ‘working models of these weapons have already been developed and proved their effectiveness. This is a completely new type of weapon that has no equals either in this country or anywhere else in the world.’
According to the editor of Russia’s national defense journal Natsionalnaya Oborona, Igor Korotchenko, the test model has rendered unprotected aircraft electronics useless during combat. He added that similar research is under way in the United States and other countries worldwide.
‘With its effective range apparently not exceeding one kilometre, this weapon may be used against UAVs flying right above the battlefield,’ said Korotchenko.
Also speaking on the technology, military analyst Alexander Perendzhiyev noted that the new weapon would be particularly effective against systems carrying microelectronic equipment. He suggested that the impact of the radio-electronic waves could even be deadly to humans – and referred to potential use against terrorists.
‘Trying to flush out terrorists holed up inside a house or an apartment is one thing, and destroying them right inside with an electronic impulse is another…’ he said.
The Russian UIMC is not the only organisation working to forcibly control unmanned aerial systems on behalf of the national government. In the U.S. DARPA is developing a ‘dragnet’ system to identify potentially harmful drones flying above urban environments. The proposed drone identification system involves a network of tethered and hovering sensors to create a comprehensive view of the lower airspace region and delivers key information to authorised officials.