US companies intending to participate in the US Army’s Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS) tender are negotiating with at least two Israeli companies that have developed systems that meet the operational demand.
The LMAMS programme, which began in 2011, is expected to result in the release of a request for proposals by the end of 2016.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and UVision, both of which have introduced new loitering munitions (LM) recently, are offering systems to the army.
IAI confirmed it is offering the Green Dragon system to the US, which is derived from the company's experience in developing unmanned air vehicles such as the Heron.
The 4.5kg system is powered by electric motors operating four rotors, and carries an interchangeable day/night payload. It is armed with two hand grenade-sized explosives.
It has a 30m endurance and a soldier can carry 3-4 of the systems and control them by using a tablet-sized unit.
UVision also confirmed it is negotiating with US companies that plan to compete for the LMAMS, offering the smallest variant in its LM family, the Hero-30.
Hero-30 is a 3kg expendable munition carried in a canister that is also used as its pneumatic launcher. After launch an electric motor is turned on.
The Hero-30 is also equipped with a day/night sensor and has an endurance of 30m.
According to a request for information (RFI) released in 2012, the army’s new system has to be capable of operating autonomously, semi-autonomously, or manually.
The operator will be able to select pre-determined targets using geo location references, and to visually select and identify targets of opportunity.
“LMAMS must have the ability to automatically lock on and track a stationary or moving target,” the RFI adds. “Once a target is selected by the operator in the terminal phase of an engagement, no further operator input shall be required.”
US companies that have indicated their intention to compete for LMAMS include AeroVironment, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Textron.