Loitering weapon systems are going to be more integrated in the arsenal of the Israeli defence forces (IDF)
The importance of these semi or fully autonomous systems grows all the time as they become more sophisticated and versatile.
Most of these systems that have been developed in Israel are highly classified. But the trend is clear by analyzing the systems that have been exposed.
The Israeli defense industries are developing new generations of loitering weapon systems to meet the demands of foreign customers. There are no details on such systems used by the IDF.
The only relatively advanced loitering weapon system that was revealed in recent years is the Harop, made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). This system was supplied to the German army. There may be more foreign clients but they are not identified. In the past, according to the foreign press, South Korea, China and India have purchased the earlier version, the Harpy.
Harop is a long endurance system which can be launched from a variety of platforms, and is equipped with tactical UAS capabilities, mainly a high performance FLIR/colour CCD EO seeker with 360 degree hemispherical coverage. It searches, detects, attacks and hits high value re-locatable, time critical, land or sea-based, moving targets with pinpoint accuracy at long ranges. A Harop unit is comprised of special launchers and a Mission Control Shelter (MCS) that enables missile control with a Man in the Loop operation, engagement or abort attack capability in real time, avoiding collateral damage.
The Harop can be applied to a variety of battle scenarios, including low and high intensity conflicts, urban warfare and counter terror operations.
The experience gathered by using the Israeli loitering weapon systems domestically and overseas is responsible for the new features. The details are not released but it is clear that these systems are getting some very critical capabilities for mission success in a variety of combat conditions.