Microwave on Deck Could Down Drones

BAE is developing the high-powered microwave (HPM) deck-mounted array to counter small boat swarms. (U.S. Navy Coast Guard)

BAE is developing the high-powered microwave (HPM) deck-mounted array to counter small boat swarms. (U.S. Navy Coast Guard)

March 26, 2018 | Source: The Maritime Executive, maritime-executive.com, 19 January 2018

Defense contractor BAE Systems is developing a new microwave for naval clients, and it isn't for the galley. Its High Powered Microwave deck-mounted array is designed to target incoming air or surface targets with microwave radiation, disrupting their electronics and rendering them useless. 

BAE first confirmed this project to Wired Magazine in 2011. "BAE Systems is developing the High-Powered Microwave (HPM) to provide a means to shut down small boat engines at tactically significant ranges," a spokeswoman wrote, adding that it could be extended to cover "a variety of platforms including ships, unmanned aerial vehicles and missile payloads." Seven years later, reports the Drive, the technology is still moving forward for naval applications, if perhaps under the radar relative to the well-publicized AN/SEQ-3 Laser Weapon System (LaWS).

"We've had some testing to show that it's actually effective against targets in a non-maritime environment, and we can certainly bring this to the maritime warfighter as well," a BAE spokesman told Naval Recognition earlier this month. "You emanate a pulse from this [antenna] to the area of interest and you can very rapidly disrupt electronics."