AFRL’s THOR hammers drones in new video animation

  • Published
  • By Joanne Perkins, Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Air Force Research Laboratory
The Air Force Research Laboratory has created a new video animation that realistically depicts THOR (Tactical High-power Operational Responder) destroying swarms of enemy drones in a base defense scenario.
In an effort to counter the increasing threat posed by enemy drones and other airborne threats, the Air Force developed THOR.
THOR is a prototype Directed Energy (DE) weapon used to disable the electronics in drones, and was specifically engineered to counter multiple targets – such as a drone swarm – with rapid results.
High energy lasers kill one target at a time, and high powered microwaves can kill groups or swarms, which is one reason that THOR offers a unique capability.
“The system output is powerful radio wave bursts, which offer a greater engagement range than bullets or nets, and its effects are silent and instantaneous,” said THOR program manager Amber Anderson.
Anderson went on to explain that THOR is housed in a 20-foot shipping unit, can be transported in a military cargo plane, and assembled by just two people.
“Drones represent an emerging threat to U.S. military bases, personnel and infrastructure, and it is THOR’s mission to keep them safe, at close range and from a distance,” Anderson said.

To view THOR in action, visit

About AFRL
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit: