Loitering munitions are very patient hunters. The weapons look for their prey from the air and then kill it. And earlier this week, developers revealed that one type can hunt for more than 6h.
Current interest in Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) loitering munitions (LM) proves that wars fought in the last decade demonstrated the need for such a system.
IAI’s HAROP is a long-endurance LM that can be launched from a variety of platforms, and is equipped with tactical UAV capabilities – high performance FLIR/colour CCD EO seeker with 360˚ hemispherical coverage. It searches, detects, attacks and hits high value, relocatable, time critical, land or sea-based moving targets with pinpoint accuracy at long ranges.
A HAROP unit is comprised of a LM launcher and a mission control shelter (MCS), that enables operation with a ‘man in the loop’ – engagement or abort attack capability in real time, in order to avoid collateral damage.
The HAROP can be applied in a variety of battle scenarios, including low and high-intensity conflicts, urban warfare and counter-terrorism operations.
After HAROPs are launched the weapon navigates towards the target area, where it loiters and searches for targets. Once a target – static or moving – is detected, it is attacked and destroyed by the weapon. The attack can be performed from any direction and at any attack angle – from flat to vertical – which is essential in urban areas.
The operator monitors the attack until the target is hit. A second HAROP can observe and send real-time video for battle damage assessment to the operator. The operator can also abort the attack in order to avoid collateral damage, returning the LM to loitering mode.