Raytheon first demonstrated its high-energy laser counter-UAS buggy system last year. The video embedded below provides a summary and shows you the system in operation; spotting, tracking, and zapping a drone from the sky.
Now the defence tech firm has announced that it has delivered the first such unmanned system to the U.S. Air Force. Raytheon says that the system will be deployed overseas "as part of a year-long Air Force experiment to train operators and test the system's effectiveness in real-world conditions". However, we don't get a hint at its destination, it could be anywhere from Lakenheath to Guam.
Raytheon says this newly deployed system uses "an advanced variant of the company's Multi-spectral Targeting System, an electro-optical/infrared sensor, to detect, identify and track rogue drones". After targeting the system can neutralise the perceived threat using a high-energy laser weapon system "in a matter of seconds".
"Five years ago, few people worried about the drone threat," said Roy Azevedo, president of Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. "Now, we hear about attacks or incursions all the time. Our customers saw this coming and asked us to develop a ready-now counter-UAS capability. We did just that by going from the drawing board to delivery in less than 24 months."
Interestingly the high-energy laser weapon system built into this unmanned all-terrain vehicle can deliver dozens of precise laser shots to identified targets, from a single charge from a standard power outlet. Raytheon says you can even choose to pair it with a generator on the vehicle for "a nearly infinite number of shots".
The above is just one of Raytheon's multiple tech solutions to rogue drones. If you head on over to its counter-UAS pages you will see that there are alternative technologies based upon counter-attacks via radio waves, small drones and missiles in its portfolio.