Contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has released a video showing off the new anti-drone capability of their Typhoon 30mm weapon. The Typhoon MK-30c and its 25mm variant are already in use by the U.S. Navy and other militaries around the world, but the latest upgrade offers the weapon a significant advantage when countering a wide range of enemy drones.
Drones Represent Rapidly Increasing Threat in 21st Century Battlefield
As militaries around the world continuously upgrade and improve their ability to engage in conventional warfare, many nations, terrorist groups, and criminal organizations are increasingly employing drones to attack those sophisticated systems. Relatively low in cost and easy to use, drones can often sneak up on a target before delivering munitions or explosives with little to no warning.
To counter this increasing threat, the United States Department of Defense and its allies are investing in a wide array of anti-drone technologies. Israeli-based international contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is one of the companies leading that charge, including the development of the cutting-edge anti-drone laser system dubbed Iron Beam.
Now, Rafael is looking to upgrade existing weapons platforms like the Typhoon to provide a whole new level of anti-drone capabilities. And based on the video recently released by the military contractor, the system could be highly effective.
Anti-drone Typhoon Upgrade Boasts Numerous Improvements
“We developed enhanced capability for the typhoon family, focusing on the 30mm, because of its caliber and also because of [its ability to use] different types of rounds such as the air burst munition,” said Ran Tavor, the leader of Rafael’s naval warfare systems efforts.
Those enhanced capabilities include something called “fire correction,” which, according to the company, uses improved accuracy to minimize the number of rounds the weapon needs to down an enemy drone. This is considered rather significant, as the relatively low cost of most drones compared to the expensive missiles used to down them mid-flight means militaries often spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to down a drone that often costs less than a few thousand dollars or even less.
For example, a 2020 report determined that in some cases, a country like Israel can spend as much as $150,000 to down an attacking drone. So keeping the amount of ammunition used by the Typhoon to a minimum (the new upgrade often requires only one or two bursts of ten rounds each to knock a drone from the sky) only increases the system’s value.
Another improvement to the Typhoon anti0drone upgrade includes a 400-round magazine, which replaces the previous 200-round magazine. The company notes that this upgrade is critical when dealing with drone swarms, another tactic increasingly employed by attackers.
“[W]e’ve enhanced the magazine from 200 to 400 rounds, so you don’t need to load it too often,” the company explained, noting that when drone swarms attack, anti-drone weapons can’t shoot them all down simultaneously, but instead have to employ a “one by one, do it fast” strategy.
The upgraded Typhoon anti-drone system also boasts an effective range of approximately 2 miles, meaning operators don’t need to wait until the threat is on top of them before blasting it into pieces.
Typhoon Anti-Drone Upgrade is Already Being Deployed
Rafael released the video of the new Typhoon anti-drone capabilities on February 17th in conjunction with the IDEX international conference held that same week. But unlike some weapons platforms showcased at trade shows, the new Typhoon system is already being added to existing weapons systems. This includes the U.S. Navy who, along with another 32 Rafael customers, are already employing the Typhoon in front-line positions.
As of the release of the video, Rafael says they have already upgraded 750 of their current systems with the new anti-drone package. The Debrief reached out to Rafael for comment on this story and will issue an update if and when they respond.
Watch Rafael’s Iron Beam Laser In Action
Christopher Plain is a novelist, comedian, and Head Science Writer at The Debrief. Follow and connect with him on Twitter, learn about his books at plainfiction.com, or email him directly at email@example.com.