This is RTX-CHIMERA, the new microwave weapon

Shooting down drones using missiles is a complex task due to the size of the targets, risky due to the collateral damage it can cause, and expensive. Therefore, it is not strange that alternatives are sought, such as lasers: they are cheaper and more precise. But they are not the only option and RTX-CHIMERA, a weapon that uses microwavesproves it.

Microwave weapons use directed beams of electromagnetic energy (at frequencies ranging between 500 MHz and 3 GHz) to disrupt the electronics of different devices. How does this work? If we take into account that a domestic microwave can interfere with the signal of a router, let’s imagine What could happen with high energy microwaves. In fact, at these ranges it is possible to deactivate electronic systems, disarm air defense networks and destroy enemy installations.

Now we can’t just imagine it. Also see it. In a series of tests conducted at the Air Force Research Laboratory, the CHIMERA (High Power Extended Range Electronic Counter) experimental microwave achieved track and maintain a high-power beam on a variety of static and aerial targets.

“We’ve done research to develop tactically relevant ranges, so that you can have enough time to affect incoming threats, and then have time to evaluate what you’ve done with those threats and give soldiers time to choose an alternative course of action – explains Colin Whelan, president of Advanced Technology at Raytheon, the firm responsible for CHIMERA, in a statement. High-power microwave systems are Cost-effective and reliable solutions that play an important role in layered defense by increasing magazine depth and giving fighters more options to defeat adversaries quickly. “The successful testing of CHIMERA is a decisive advance.”

The advantage of using high-power microwaves over lasers is that the latter, despite years of research, still do not have adequate power levels to be effective against particularly fast-moving drones. Additionally, because the laser is very precise, it is less useful against large numbers of drones.

While microwaves face a similar hurdle in terms of power, their advantages could be greater. But would it be effective against Iranian drones like the Shahed-136? According to Whelan, “all I can say is that I’m sure there are a lot of people who would like to have a weapon like this to take on these types of drones.” We would see the first prototype this year according to reports.