The U.S. Air Force is testing a prototype anti-drone system in Africa, in what USAF officials characterized as, a “real-world setting.”  This is the next step in protecting American troops from the newest scourge on the battlefield. 

As first reported by Breaking Defense back in August, the new system is called the Tactical High-power Operational Responder (THOR). It was developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. The system is designed to counter single or swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) by using microwaves. 

Stephen Langdon, chief of the High-Powered Microwave Technologies Branch of AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate, said that the “THOR is essentially a high-powered electromagnetic source that we put together to specifically defeat drones.”

The Air Force’s chief scientist, Richard Joseph, said the Air Force decided to test the THOR in Africa due to the increased use of drones on the continent. Additionally, the choice of Africa wouldn’t further escalate the already high tensions with Iran nor invite any countermeasures.