WASHINGTON — Epirus has completed initial government acceptance testing of its high-power microwave prototype meant to counter drone swarms, the company said in a Nov. 1 statement.
The prototype system delivered to the U.S. Army is part of the service’s effort to develop an Indirect Fire Protection Capability that will protect fixed and semi-fixed sites from drones as well as rockets, artillery and mortars and cruise missiles. The IFPC system will consist of a mix of hard-kill interceptors as well as a laser and a high-power microwave capability.
The Army is also now receiving the first 12 IFPC launcher prototypes from Dynetics; these will head into operational tests in 2024.
The IFPC-HPM, Epirus said, is a counter-unmanned aircraft system-swarm capability developed under a December 2022 contract awarded by the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office.
The venture capital-backed Epirus created its original product, Leonidas, as a cost-effective way to counter electronic threats as the Army grappled with using expensive missiles to take out cheap drone threats. Leonidas can fire rapidly on targets with “near-instant effects” without overheating, the company has said, and the system eliminates the need to reload.
“Operators can precisely and safely control the system’s HPM pulse to prosecute single UAS and swarms, depending on the threat environment,” the company statement says.
Epirus “successfully” completed a recent government acceptance test of the Leonidas-based IFPC-HPM in Nevada, the company said in the statement.
The system was “stressed” in a range of scenarios and demonstrated both its capability to defeat swarms as well as its reliability, the company said.
The system will continue to undergo Army evaluation and testing that will feed into the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures for operational use, according to the company.
As part of the contract with RCCTO, an additional three prototypes will subsequently be delivered to the Army. Those systems will also undergo more developmental testing.
Epirus has grown rapidly, raising $80 million in total capital within two years of its 2018 founding. Large contractors like Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and L3Harris Technologies have all invested in the company’s technology.