The US Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) has awarded Epirus a $66.1 million contract to deliver its Leonidas counter-UAS systems in support of the Indirect Fire Protection Capability-High-Power Microwave Program.
As part of the Other Transaction Authority, Epirus will collaborate with the RCCTO to deliver several prototype systems of the Leonidas directed energy weapon in 2023 with options to acquire additional support services.
Epirus plans to deliver and support prototypes of integrated high power microwave (HPM) capability and, as part of the contract’s design, work with the RCCTO to transition Leonidas into a future program of record after successful demonstration of the prototypes.
Epirus says its Leonidas counter-electronics system demonstrated lethality against a range of UAS and electronic systems and achieved swarm defeat at multiple US government-sponsored test events, outperforming six down-selected systems. The latest iteration of Leonidas, which uses solid-state Gallium Nitride power amplifiers, was introduced by the company in April 2022.
The company says it privately funded the research and development to bring its fourth-generation HPM system to life.
“Today’s contract award is a significant step towards bridging the long-established gap between industry innovation and the conventional norms of defense technology procurement,” the company said in a statement.
“Time and time again, we’ve seen that current air defense systems are ill-equipped to tackle the threat of autonomous drone swarms. This contract with the RCCTO brings new counter-swarm capability to the UAS fight with our cost-effective, modular and upgradable Leonidas systems,” said Ken Bedingfield, Chief Executive Officer, Epirus. “As the threat environment continues to evolve, so, too, will our capabilities, ensuring the US Army is equipped with effective countermeasures to near-term and over-the-horizon electronic threats for decades to come.”
The company further said its software-defined approach to HPM enables upgradable lethality through software-based updates to deployed systems. Leonidas also features an open system architecture to facilitate integration with the Joint Force’s existing and future command-and-control networks.