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High-power Microwave Pod for Drones proposed by Epirus

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On 14 February, the Venture capital-backed startup Epirus unveiled a high-power microwave system capable of deploying on a drone. According to a company statement, the Leonidas Pod makes the company’s ground-based system designed to protect forward operating bases from incoming threats and mountable on a variety of other systems. This system is thought to address drone swarms rather than singular done threats. In fact, these swarms are a growing problem for the U.S military as it develops counter-unmanned aircrafts system capability.

This is intended to be a cost-effective solution to countering electronic threats when compared to using expensive kinetic means to take out cheap drone threats. In fact, Leonidas can fire rapidly on targets with “near-instant effects” without overheating, and the system eliminates the need to reload. The system is able to power up and down in minutes and has extended battery life, allowing the Leonidas Pod to move to the threat in any domain and then return to base. The pod has a standby mode, and the system can be activated without draining battery power.

The system has already demonstrated it can counter both rotary and fixed-wing drones and, at its most recent demonstration, the system disabled an outboard ship motor, proving also maritime applications.

Epirus was launched in 2018 and jumped into the $2 billion-and-growing counter-drone market, and recently won a multimillion-dollar contract from the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop software to predict the behaviours of electromagnetic waveforms. It has also been selected among other companies by the Army Applications Laboratory Soldier Power Cohort to develop intelligent power management solutions.

The company has had a partnership with the General Dynamics Land system to integrate Leonidas on vehicles like the Stryker combat vehicle and other manned and unmanned ground vehicles to provide Short-Range Air Defence (SHORAD) capabilities. In addition, the Army has recently fielded its first platoon of Stryker-based SHORAD systems to Europe and the service is also building four SHORAD 50-kilowatt-class directed energy-capable Strykers.

The counter-drone market is so dense that the Pentagon founded a Joint Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office, in charge of identifying enduring systems and rapidly integrating new technology to address the problem.

Written by Gabriela-Corina Tanasa


Jen Judson, “Epirus debuts high-power microwave pod for drones”, Defense News, 14 February 2022. [online]. Available at: Epirus debuts high-power microwave pod for drones (