Tag Archives: Epirus

High-Power Microwave

Epirus has landed a contract from the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office for prototypes of its Leonidas High-Power Microwave (HPM) system that can kill drones by zapping their electronics.

Leonidas HPM
Leonidas high-power microwave system (Image courtesy of Epirus)

The award, announced by the company Monday, January 23 2023, comes as the U.S. military is on the hunt for new capabilities to address the growing threat from adversaries’ Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

The Leonidas system will support the Army’s Indirect Fire Protection Capability-High-Power Microwave Program.

«As part of the Other Transaction Authority, Epirus collaborates with the Rapid Capabilities & Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) to rapidly deliver several prototype systems of Leonidas for $66.1 million in 2023 with options to acquire additional support services. Epirus plans to deliver and support prototypes of integrated HPM capability and, as part of the contract’s design, work with the RCCTO to transition Leonidas into a future program of record after successful demonstration of the prototypes», according to a company press release.

The Pentagon is keen on directed energy weapons for counter-UAV missions because they are less expensive to operate than more traditional air-defense systems that fire missiles – also known as “kinetic” interceptors” – and can engage more targets because they have deeper magazines and don’t require reloading.

«Time and time again, we’ve seen that current air defense systems are ill-equipped to tackle the threat of autonomous drone swarms. This contract with the RCCTO brings new counter-swarm capability to the UAS fight with our cost-effective, modular and upgradable Leonidas systems», Epirus CEO Ken Bedingfield said in a statement. «As the threat environment continues to evolve, so, too, will our capabilities, ensuring the U.S. Army is equipped with effective countermeasures to near-term and over-the-horizon electronic threats for decades to come».

The Leonidas «counter-electronics system» has «demonstrated lethality against a broad range of UAS and electronic systems and achieved swarm defeat at multiple U.S. Government-sponsored test events, outperforming six down-selected systems», per the release.

The latest iteration was unveiled in April 2022.

The Defense Department’s Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO) conducted demonstrations of several high-power microwave weapons at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, last spring.

«The Epirus system was able to defeat targets in the range that is normally associated with what is currently in the field and has the promise to be a little bit more effective in the future», Michael DiGennaro, head of the test team for the JCO’s acquisition and resourcing division, told reporters after the event concluded.

Leonidas is equipped with solid-state Gallium Nitride (GaN) power amplifiers. Artificial intelligence-enabled GaN semiconductors enable high levels of power density without special cooling tech, according to Epirus.

«The system is frequency agile and rapidly fires a barrage of unique waveforms to exploit the specific frequencies that UAS targets are most susceptible to. This enables tactically relevant counter-swarm ranges beyond small arms fire, even against diverse swarms», according to a product datasheet.

Epirus is touting the weapon’s accuracy and targeting flexibility aided by “digital beamforming.”

«Digital beamforming enables pinpoint accuracy so that operators disable threats … and nothing else», according to the datasheet, which says the technology can enable «programmable no-fly zones» where enemy drones can be targeted but friendly UAS can operate unscathed.

The system can be mounted on vehicles – including Army Strykers – or towed, and the weapon can be used “within minutes” after powering up. It also includes line-replaceable amplifier modules that can be serviced or replaced in under eight minutes, according to Epirus.

Epirus’ Leonidas system

General Dynamics Land Systems, a global leader in providing innovative, high technology and next-generation ground combat solutions to customers, announces on October 25, 2021 a Strategic Teaming Agreement with Epirus, Inc., a high-growth technology company developing directed energy systems that enable unprecedented counter-electronics effects. GD and Epirus will collaborate to integrate the Leonidas directed energy system and broader high-power microwave technology into the U.S. Army’s Stryker and other manned and autonomous ground combat vehicles for enhanced mobile Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) capabilities.

A scaled illustration of Epirus’ Leonidas counter-electronics system mounted on a GDLS Stryker

«General Dynamics Land Systems continues to evolve the Army’s largest and most reliable ground combat vehicle fleet with next-generation innovation and high-tech solutions», said Danny Deep, President of General Dynamics Land Systems. «This partnership with Epirus benefits the Army’s Stryker mobile SHORAD formations by offering cutting-edge, counter-electronics and counter-swarm capabilities».

In addition to Stryker upgrades, the company also is developing a class of robotic combat vehicles that feature modular architecture to maximize scalability and support future mission needs, Deep said.

Leonidas’ integration with Stryker enables a fully mobile counter-electronics solution and demonstrates the system’s flexible Application Programming Interface (API) and ability to integrate with existing ground-based, airborne and maritime systems for operation across domains. The system’s open API allows for maximum interoperability to meet the mission needs of multiple customer sets. Leonidas delivers unprecedented power and performance in a dramatically smaller form factor and is the only directed energy weapon with a proven ability to counter swarming drones and execute precision strikes at range.

«Having the support of one of the largest, most innovative and technologically advanced defense contractors further deepens our industry credibility and the market appeal for Epirus’ directed energy product portfolio. With Leonidas integrated into GD’s combat vehicle fleet, we are unlocking new SHORAD and counter-electronics capabilities to equip our warfighters with combat effective systems that dismantle the threats of today and tomorrow. I look forward to continuing our partnership with our General Dynamics Land Systems colleagues and know that, together, we can deliver on our customers’ mission needs», said Leigh Madden, Epirus Chief Executive Officer.

Epirus’ Leonidas counter-electronics system
The companies will collaborate to advance mobile SHORAD solutions and fill capability gaps to defend against drone swarms and other electronic threats

C-UAS Weapon

Northrop Grumman Corporation has formed a strategic supplier agreement with Epirus, Inc. to offer the company’s Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) capability as a component of Northrop Grumman’s Counter-Unmanned Aerial System (C-UAS) systems-of-systems solution offering. The agreement augments Northrop Grumman’s advanced end-to-end C-UAS capabilities by including Epirus’ EMP systems to defeat UAS swarms, and specifically supplements the company’s suite of non-kinetic C-UAS effects.

Northrop Grumman Taps Epirus for Electromagnetic Pulse C-UAS Weapon System

«UAS threats are proliferating across the modern battlespace», said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. «By integrating the Epirus EMP weapon system into our C-UAS portfolio, we continue maturing our robust, integrated, layered approach to addressing and defeating these evolving threats».

Northrop Grumman’s end-to-end C-UAS solutions deliver a layered architecture with a full complement of kinetic and non-kinetic effects, aerial and ground sensors and the battle-hardened, proven and deployed Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control (C2) system, recently selected by the U.S. Army as the interim C2 system for counter-small-UAS capabilities.

Epirus’ C-UAS EMP system – called Leonidas – is designed for static and mobile C-UAS defense and utilizes solid-state commercial semiconductor technology to deliver capability with unprecedented reduction in size and weight. This enables increased stand-off ranges and speed-of-light engagements that do not suffer from issues with magazine depth and capacity. When fired, a Leonidas creates an EMP that can be steered for precision engagements, or adjusted to sanitize a volume of terrain or sky, creating a force field effect.

«We’re excited to work closely with the Northrop Grumman team to support their C-UAS systems-of-systems solution offering», said Bo Marr, chief technology officer at Epirus. «Our unprecedented EMP capabilities will complement this offering as we continue to look to the future to understand how asymmetric threats will evolve».

Epirus Inc. is a third-year startup that develops EMP weapons for the U.S. military. Their team combines veteran experience from aerospace and the Special Operations community. Their offices are located in Los Angeles, California.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.