Air Force Research Laboratory creates tool to take down drones | KOB 4

Air Force Research Laboratory creates tool to take down drones

Christina Rodriguez
June 20, 2019 07:43 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It seems like drones are everywhere these days, but not everybody has good intentions with drones. The Air Force says they pose a real threat, and KOB 4 got to see a potential solution, firsthand. 

"This is called THOR, the tactical, high-power, operational responder," said Kelly Hammett, the director of the directed energy group at the Kirtland Air Force Research Laboratory.

THOR uses a high-powered microwave beam to fry a drone, and drop it from the sky. 

Researchers say THOR will tackle some pretty series problems – from attempted drug smuggling to major military threats. 

"The face of war is changing," said Amber Anderson, the program manager for the THOR system. 

The team behind THOR says drones are a big threat. 

"What you see in this clip behind me is a billion with a B dollars worth of ammo blowing up in the Ukraine," Anderson said. "What you don't see is the tiny, hard to spot – you know any 12-year-old with D batteries can operate – drone with ammunition that can negate this armory."

Anti-drone technology like this has been in the works for years, but THOR is more advanced, and a lot faster. 

"You hit the button, you don't hear anything, but you see the drone drop out of the sky," Anderson said. 

THOR also doesn't need much to power it. 

"It runs off a wall plug of a mobile generator so you can move it anywhere," Anderson said. 

Researchers said the threat of drones being used in battle is real. 

"And one for which that we really don't have good solutions at this point," Hammett said. 

They designed, built and tested THOR in just 18 months and they say it could be in the field within just a few years. 


Christina Rodriguez

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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