UK develops radio frequency directed energy weapon to counter drones.

The UK’s armed forces are advancing their capabilities with the development of a cutting-edge weapon known as the Radio Frequency Directed Energy Weapon (RFDEW). This innovative technology employs radio waves to disrupt or damage critical electronic components of enemy combat vehicles and drones, effectively neutralizing them in the field.

The RFDEW, designed to be utilized across various terrains—land, air, and sea—boasts an impressive range of up to 1km, with potential for future extensions. This new weapon system comes as part of the UK’s commitment to bolster defence spending to 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030, as announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

With an estimated cost of just 10p per radio wave shot, the RFDEW presents a cost-effective alternative to traditional missiles. It has the capability to counter dangerous drone swarms, providing a strategic advantage on the battlefield.

The technology, mountable on various military vehicles, utilizes a mobile power source to emit pulses of radio frequency energy in a directed beam. This beam can be precisely targeted at a single enemy or widened to engage multiple targets simultaneously.

Minister for defence procurement James Cartlidge emphasized the significance of such advancements, stating that the RFDEW enhances both the lethality and protection of UK personnel. Additionally, it solidifies the UK’s position as a leader in innovative military technology.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has underscored the importance of deploying unmanned systems, highlighting the necessity for effective countermeasures. The UK’s Defence Drone Strategy aims to ensure readiness in this evolving landscape of warfare.

The RFDEW is slated for extensive testing with British soldiers throughout the summer. Developed under Project Hersa by a joint team from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), in collaboration with UK industry, this groundbreaking weapon system promises to deliver decisive operational advantages, safeguarding lives and countering deadly threats on the battlefield.