The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I contract to Epirus Systems at the recently held Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Pitch Day.

At the Pitch Day on 24 July at the Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security in Burlington, Massachusetts, Epirus demonstrated its megawatt-class drone-mounted, directed energy capability system.

The presentation, which was led by Epirus CEO Nathan Mintz and chief technology officer Bo Marr, involved video demonstrations showcasing how the megawatt-class system will work in the field.

The technology makes use of a ‘short burst’ of directed energy to tackle UAS systems.

The government and security establishments are increasingly focused on how to address the threat posed by drones to critical assets.

Epirus stated that it will leverage its expertise in understanding how drones respond to the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) technology.

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The company is involved in developing technological innovations to help defeat drone swarms.

Nathan Mintz said: “This contract demonstrates the efficacy of our efforts to date and gives us an important financial win as a new company.

“Having our megawatt-class drone-mounted, directed energy capability system recognised by the US Air Force, which has the ultimate responsibility to keep us safe from aerial threats of all types, is a real honour.

“This contract award will mature the airborne capability and work towards preparing the device for production.”

The Program Executive Office Digital awarded a total of 13 drone technology contracts at the Pitch Day.

The latest pitch day comes after the USAF held a pitch day in New York City in March this year.