UVision Develops New Type of Attack Drone for the Emerging Battlefield

unnamed (5) UVision Air Ltd.

UVision Air Ltd. of Israel has recently come out with two new loitering attack munitions systems, designated “Hero”. Loitering munitions (LM) systems were developed in Israel and have been available in many countries for at least ten years.

These unmanned combat aerial vehicles loiter over the battlefield and attack the targets by self-destructing into them, hence the moniker ‘Kamikaze Drones’. They are expendable, but the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) strike missions can be aborted at any time, landing by means of a parachute for retrieval in order to be reused for other missions.

They can be designated for surveillance and intelligence collection missions, as well as attack missions. This platform expands the possibilities for drone attacks from their present primarily strategic roles to more tactical ones, including the ability of the smaller versions to be launched by ground troops.
Military analysis of present threats indicate that drones will become more important in an asymmetrical conflict, and LM systems are more cost effective than missile systems in targeting specific targets, and have the additional advantages. Drones are an essential weapon, allowing the operator to remain out of harm’s way and allowing access to distant battlefields that were previously inaccessible, even to aircraft.

They have the additional benefits of being able to spend more time in the air tracking and searching, as well as allowing the operator to observe the target more closely to allow more considered tactical decisions, allowing the option of being recalled or of cancelling the mission at any time. Using drones as an offensive platform is an emerging aspect for a tool that was originally intended as an intelligence gathering device.
The Hero UAV is launched by a pneumatic launcher that utilizes air pressure only, so it does not produce a flash that might betray the location of the launching force and endanger it. The larger models in the Hero series – are powered by gasoline engines and have extremely long ranges.
There are several versions, to be employed in accordance to the size of the target and the way in which the munitions are to be deployed.
The Hero-30 (formerly designated ‘Wasp’) is a small (3kg) expendable unmanned reconnaissance asset supporting small tactical units and Special Forces. Hero-30 is a zero-maintenance personal reconnaissance asset, which is launched from a small canister and is electrically powered, resulting in a minimal tactical footprint and extreme ease of deployment on the battlefield. It provides a full half hour of mission time to accommodate the needs of front line units, as they are engaged combat and potentially under fire.
The Hero-400 (formerly designated ‘Blade Arrow’) is a medium-size (40 kg) loitering munition powered by a gasoline engine. The payload comprises an advanced electro-optical day/night imaging sensor and an 8 kg warhead. Hero-400 can loiter for four hours, for engaging fixed or moving high-value targets. Supporting missions at ranges up to 150km, Hero-400 provides the tactical commander an affordable, quick-reaction precision strike capability.
The Chairman of UVision’s Board of Directors is former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. (res.) Yair Naveh. According to him, “We carried out a structured analysis of the coming decade and realized that the future is, indeed, in loitering attack munitions. Most of the Western world will be compelled to cope with terrorism and guerrilla warfare. The combat zones are densely-populated areas where it is difficult to distinguish between combatants and uninvolved parties. The loitering munition enables you to approach the target until you make the actual decision to attack, and then perform the attack with maximum accuracy if no damage to uninvolved parties is expected.”
“The idea is to provide the company and platoon levels with a UAV that enables surveillance, fire cycle closure and hitting the target. The price is one of the outstanding advantages. We have placed on the table, for the first time ever, a product from the missile ordnance world at prices that are not the usual prices charged for missiles.”
UVision’s CEO, Yair Dubester, was enthusiastic about the new systems.
“In our new incarnation, we decided to focus on loitering attack munitions, ” Dubester told IsraelDefense. “Our view – and we have seen the Americans adopting the same view – is that loitering attack munitions are going to be the next big thing. I am not referring to such large ‘Kamikaze’ UAVs as IAI’s Harop, but to smaller, ‘personal’ loitering munitions. The Americans began using such platforms in Afghanistan.”

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