Military Embedded Systems

Software-defined EMP anti-UAS technology wins accelerator contract from USAF


September 24, 2019

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Image courtesy Epirus Systems

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. Epirus Systems, a maker of software-defined electromagnetic pulse (EMP) technology designed to take down dangerous unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), has won a new type of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the U.S. Air Force?s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and its AFWERX technology accelerator program. The AFWERX program contracts with and empowers companies to engage industry stakeholders and fine-tune technologies at an earlier stage to streamline innovation to the warfighter.

Epirus was awarded the SBIR contract for its novel architecture that makes multibeam phased array systems designed to neutralize UASs or drones; the company has been using this technology to develop the world's first solid-state, software-defined, phased-array high-power microwave directed-energy system. The Epirus architecture uses commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) -- semiconductor devices commonly used in electronic circuits -- as ultra-wideband radio frequency (RF) transceivers. Company officials say that this approach is much faster and less expensive than using ASIC-based transceivers. Using this new architecture, it becomes much faster and more affordable to develop RF systems for digital beamforming and channelizing, which has multiple uses in communications, electronic warfare, and radar.

Epirus CEO Nathan Mintz stated: "This new contract type is a proactive approach that empowers Epirus and the U.S. government to work together and think holistically about drone defense-- and not lose valuable time and ground to potential adversaries on this new battlefield like China and Russia."

The Air Force established the AFWERX program in 2017 to develop cutting-edge solutions for dynamic security threats through forming partnerships with private companies and using a technology startup-inspired approach.


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