Competition To Build An Army Stryker That Zaps Drone Swarms Heats Up

General Dynamics Land Systems, or GDLS, announced a formal partnership deal today with Epirus that will include work to integrate the latter company’s Leonidas high-power microwave weapon onto a variant of the 8×8 Stryker wheeled-armored vehicle. The two companies are pitching this combination to the Army, which plans to supplement its new gun and missile-armed short-range air-defense (SHORAD) Strykers with versions carrying directed-energy weapons. GDLS and Epirus’ proposal will be up against multiple laser-equipped designs, including one from a Raytheon and Kord Technologies team already undergoing Army testing.

A GLDS press release says that its new Strategic Teaming Agreement with Epirus will also involve projects that could see Leonidas installed on “other manned and autonomous ground combat vehicles” in addition to the Stryker. GDLS produces a number of different unmanned ground vehicles, including the Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) series and the Tracked Robot 10-Ton (TRX), both of which the Army has been testing in various configurations.

“General Dynamics Land Systems continues to evolve the Army’s largest and most reliable ground combat vehicle fleet with next-generation innovation and high-tech solutions,” Danny Deep, President of General Dynamics Land Systems, said in a statement. “This partnership with Epirus benefits the Army’s Stryker mobile SHORAD formations by offering cutting-edge, counter-electronics and counter-swarm capabilities.”

“With Leonidas integrated into GD’s combat vehicle fleet, we are unlocking new SHORAD and counter-electronics capabilities to equip our warfighters with combat effective systems that dismantle the threats of today and tomorrow,” Leigh Madden, Epirus Chief Executive Officer, said. “I look forward to continuing our partnership with our General Dynamics Land Systems colleagues and know that, together, we can deliver on our customers’ mission needs.”

High-powered microwave (HPM) directed-energy weapons, in general, are capable of disrupting or disabling electronic systems on a target — literally burning them up if the weapons are powerful enough. An HPM system’s power levels and how it focuses its beam have impacts on its range and ability to engage multiple threats at once, too.

Epirus says that the technology behind Leonidas makes it particularly efficient through the use of “Artificial Intelligence-controlled solid-state power amplifiers to achieve extremely high levels of power output.” The company says this makes the core components of this directed-energy weapon highly scalable, as well. 

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