Ten months after Epirus and General Dynamics [GD] partnered to integrate a directed energy system aboard the Stryker wheeled combat vehicle, the companies on Wednesday said they have successfully demonstrated Epirus’ Leonidas counter-electronics array aboard the GD-built vehicle in disabling drones for short-range air defense.

Stryker Leonidas, which went from concept in October 2021 to a successful field test in August, will be on display at the annual Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) conference in Washington, D.C., next week.

The companies said that Stryker Leonidas brings “counter-electronics capabilities to the front lines,” essentially giving forward deployed maneuver forces the ability to defend themselves from threats posed by drones.

The need for short-range, organic air defenses that are part of mobile forces, whether delivering logistics or at the edge of the battlefield, is seen daily on social media feeds such as Twitter in Russia’s war against Ukraine, where small drones operating near opposing forces are used to spot and target artillery and even drop munitions straight down on armored vehicles and troops.

Leonidas is a high-powered microwave (HPM), software-defined system that disables drones operating singly or in swarms. Epirus says the system can defeat small, medium and large unmanned aircraft systems at operationally relevant ranges established by the U.S. military.

The testing with GD lasted two weeks and occurred at a government test site in the desert.

“So, really rapid iteration in driving that capability,” Leigh Madden, CEO of Epirus, told Defense Daily during a virtual interview. “And not only is Epirus capable of moving fast, but General Dynamics is capable of moving fast. That’s really significant. The speed at which we’ve done it, and the fact that we got out in the field and tested it successfully in that period of time, is something that I think is truly unprecedented in the aerospace and defense community.”

Madden said the companies kept their customers in the loop throughout the integration and test efforts, noting that “a lot of customers are lined up to see that for the first-time next week” at AUSA. He added that both companies wanted to make sure that Stryker Leonidas “is something that the customers need, and we’re absolutely getting that signal.”

For the recent demonstration, the second-generation of Leonidas was integrated onto the Stryker vehicle. The third-generation system, which has more power and was introduced last spring, can easily be integrated on the combat vehicle relatively soon, Madden said. The system is scalable, he said.

Epirus is working with a government customer on a smaller form factor of Leonidas that can be adapted to a smaller military platform, he said.

For the Stryker integration, the Leonidas HPM array is on a gimbal and sits flat when it isn’t pulsing against a target, Madden said. The specific Stryker used in the integration didn’t require any changes in its batteries or power systems and is designed to accommodate the added technology, he said.

In the demonstration, a RADA Technologies radar was integrated with Leonidas and the Stryker. Leonidas features an open architecture and works with other radar, electro-optical and radio-frequency-based detection and tracking sensors, and command and control platforms, Madden said.

“Adding Leonidas’ counter-electronics capabilities to the Stryker combat vehicle provides the joint force with unmatched mobile protection from the continuously evolving threat of weaponized drones,” Gordon Stein, vice president of U.S. operations at GD Land Systems, said in a statement. “As the Army’s largest combat vehicle fleet, Stryker is combat-proven, cost-effective, highly mobile, versatile, sustainable and transportable and continues to be a highly sought platform beyond the Stryker Brigade Combat Team formations.”