US Armed Forces plan to deploy a variety of advanced loitering weapon systems. A Program of Records (POR) for the acquisition of a small loitering weapon system by US Special Forces should be issued in 2019, says Shane Cohen, vice president of marketing and sales at UVision Air, an Israeli company that specialises in unmanned aerial loitering munition systems.
One of the systems that will be evaluated by the US is UVision Air's Hero-30, which is the smallest system in its family of smart loitering systems.
The Israeli company has put forward a derivative of its Hero-30 system for the US Army's Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile Systems (LMAMS), which will use a small, man-portable loitering munition to combat non-line-of-sight targets such as snipers and enemy combatants planting IEDs.
The US Army plans on purchasing 25,000 loitering weapon systems over a 15-year period. According to the contract, if the Hero-30 is selected, Raytheon will serve as the main contractor.
The special derivative of the Hero-30 loitering weapon system developed for the LMAMS will be lighter and will carry a smaller warhead. The current version of the Hero-30 weapon system weighs 3 kg and is carried in a canister, which is used also as a pneumatic launcher. After launch the electric motor is turned on.
The Hero-30 is equipped with a day/night sensor and has an endurance of 30 minutes, which UVision is working on extending. After the Hero-30 is launched, it locks onto the predesigned target and transmits video to the operator's hand-held unit.
The Hero-30 loiters at altitudes between 300 and 600 meters above the ground. The data link can control the system in ranges of 5 km to 10km, or 40 km depending on the antenna used.
UVision recently developed a new launcher for the Hero-30, which the company says offers reduced system weight, greater safety and ease-of-use during launch, and it can be easily mounted on military platforms. Its pneumatic launch, low noise and low thermal signature make the Hero-30 an invisible, high-precision surprise and lethal attacker, providing a major asset to fighting forces.