General Dynamics’ Land Systems [GD] (GDLS) and Epirus announced on Monday they agreed to team up to integrate a directed energy system onto the Army’s Stryker for more Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) capabilities.
GDLS originally built the Stryker for the Army and Epirus specializes in developing high-powered microwaves (HPM) for defense applications.
The companies said the Strategic Teaming Agreement specifically will add Epirus’ counter-electronics directed energy system and other HPM technology on to the Army’s Stryker and other manned and autonomous ground combat vehicles to aid in their SHORAD capabilities.
The Army’s Directed Energy Maneuver SHORAD (DE M-SHORAD) program is focusing on a prototyping effort using Kord Technologies to provide a 50kW laser system and Raytheon Technologies [RTX] serving as the laser module integrator. The service plans to deliver a platoon of four laser-equipped Strykers by fall 2022.
In August, Army officials said Raytheon was moving forward on the DE M-SHORAD while Northrop Grumman [NOC] was dropped from the program before a shoot-off evaluation (Defense Daily, Aug. 8).
Earlier this month, Lockheed Martin [LMT] detailed an intent to pursue the Army’s 50kW laser system with its own Directed Energy Interceptor for Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense System (DEIMOS) and plans to offer the capability when the Army expects to begin the production competition in fiscal year 2023 (Defense Daily, Oct. 11).
In contrast to these 50kW directed energy systems, this new capability aims at defending against swarming drones, not just single unmanned aircraft system threats.
“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. This partnership with Epirus benefits the Army’s Stryker mobile SHORAD formations by offering cutting-edge, counter-electronics and counter-swarm capabilities,” Danny Deep, president of GDLS, said in a statement.
The companies boasted that integrating Leonidas with Stryker will enable a fully mobile counter-electronics solution and demonstrates the system’s flexible application programming interface (API) with interoperability to integrate with various existing ground-based, airborne and maritime systems.
“Leonidas delivers unprecedented power and performance in a dramatically smaller form factor and is the only directed energy weapon with a proven ability to counter swarming drones and execute precision strikes at range,” the companies said.
According to the Epirus Leonidas product website page, the system uses Gallium Nitride and solid-state high-power microwave technology to disrupt, disable and destroy critical electronic components of the target drones.
Epirus CEO Leigh Madden said their work with GDLS is strengthening the company’s industry credibility and market appeal for the directed energy product portfolio.
“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. 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,” Madden said.
Last year, Northrop Grumman announced it was working with Epirus to leverage its Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) capability for counter-drone swarm solutions.
In May, Epirus said former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper joined the company’s board (Defense Daily, May 21).
Late last year, Epirus said it received $70 million in Series B funding that allowed them to move operations beyond counter unmanned aerial system technologies. At the time it was developing software for HPM applications. The investment included Bedrock Capital, L3Harris Technologies [LHX], Piedmont Capital Investments, 8VC, Fathom Capital, and Greenspring Associates (Defense Daily, Dec. 18, 2020).