Battlefield game changer for all missions and targets
Soldiermod talks to UVision about their high precision loitering munitions
Q: The current conflict in Ukraine has shown the effectiveness of loitering ammunition and anti tank hand held weapons; both being shown to help gain an advantage over large, better equipped forces. Where does loitering ammunition hold an advantage over traditional hand held anti armour weapons?
A: Hand held Anti-Armor weapons are very good, but they have several limitations:
- In order to use them you have to know where the enemy is. Sometimes this is not so simple, because the opponent takes measures to hide, camouflage, secure forces behind or between buildings or trees etc.– Loitering Munitions can fly over the target area, search and locate targets and then attack.
- In order to use Hand held Anti-Armor weapons you have to have a direct straight line between you and the target, which is clear of obstacles that will block the trajectory of the weapon. In combat situations often it's not simple to “get a clear shot”. The target may be behind obstacles (buildings, trees, fences, electric wires, wide water (river, lake, pond – that limits the use of wire-guided missiles) etc. – Loitering Munitions do not need a clear, direct line from your location. You can launch them to any convenient direction and send them into the target area.
- When you use Hand held Anti-Armor weapons you need to see the target. This means that the target can see you as well. In many cases, the launch of the weapon will expose your position (because the launch makes noise, smoke, dust, rocket trail…) that puts troops in a dangerous position. – Loitering Munitions allow you to stay hidden, in a secure position, launch them in any convenient direction (not necessarily towards the enemy, but to a direction that will not expose you), with almost no noise, heat signature, no dust, no smoke, no rocket trail, the munition can then fly into the target using a hidden route, until it get there and attacks.
- When using Hand held Anti-Armor weapons you are very limited in the direction of attack (only direct line from you to the target), and your missile will only attack at a pre-designed angle chosen by the manufacturer. – Loitering Munitions allow you to come to the target from any direction (including surprising from the enemy rear), and you can choose the angle according to the exact operational scenario (top attack, to hit a roof of the tank, or medium or shallow angle to hit from the side…). You can choose a shallow angle to go in to a window, or avoid upper cover, or choose a top attack to avoid the enemy tank's active protection systems.
- When using Hand held Anti-Armor weapons, once you pull the trigger you are very limited in changing the outcomes. You cannot abort the attack. What if you find out during the flight of the missile that friendly forces, or civilians, are standing too close to the target? What if, when the missile is getting closer to the target, you see that this tank was already attacked, or abandoned? The most you can do is divert the missile from the target, but not more than this. – Loitering Munitions allow you to abort the attack in mid-air, climb back up to loitering above the target, re-examine the situation, and assign a different target, or re-attack the target at a later stage, after the civilians have left the area...
- When using Hand held Anti-Armor weapons you can only see the target from your own firing position. This limits your situational awareness and your view. What if there is a more valuable target just behind what you can see? What if there are civilians there? What if the target is standing between buildings from all sides? If you want to know more you have to rely on external support (other units, an available UAV that will be allocated to you… etc.) – Loitering Munitions allow you to fly above the target area for an extended time undetected, investigate and search the area, and then choose the right target, the right timing, the right direction and angle… and attack. And if the situation changes, the attack can be changed at the last second – abort, go back up and start again.
- With Hand held Anti-Armor weapons you have to carry the munition and the launching and control systems on your back. This is big and heavy. This is very limiting, especially for forces (like Special Forces) who already carry heavy loads on their backs.– With Loitering Munitions the front-line force only need to carry the communication and the control units (very small and light). Some other force can launch the LM for them, and transfer the control over the munition to them while the munition is in mid-air.
Q: One of main abilities of loitering weapons is in differential of size, a product to suit a target, rather than one size fits all. Could you talk us through your Hero range and the different capabilities?
A: UVision's array of HERO Loitering Munitions differ in several main parameters:
- Flight time (endurance), which also effect the range the LM can reach
- Size of warhead (which also relate to the types of targets that can be engaged)
- Man-Portable or transported and launched from a platform (vehicle, boat etc.)
- Type of engine (Electric or Gasoline)
- Launching mechanism: Canister launcher, Rail, Multi-Canister Launcher.
Q: How are loitering ammunitions affected by weather and climatic conditions and does this effect their lethality?
A: Any system that flies, and any system that uses sensors (Electro-optic or Infra-red) is affected by weather. Temperatures, winds, fog, rain… all create limitations on any system in the battlefield.
We are proud to report that UVision's array of Loitering Munitions were tested to operate even in very challenging conditions, and were found to be operational in most climate conditions that the customers required.
These climate limitations mostly relate to the launch, the flight, and the locating and tracking of the targets. The lethality of the warhead is almost not effected by weather.
Q: Could you talk to us a little about UVision as a company: where you are supplying and your views for the future in this field?
A: UVision is a privately owned company, established in 2011, that is now a well-known market-leader in the field of Loitering Munitions.
UVision has a subsidiary company in the US (UVision-USA), a joint-venture in India with a local Indian company (AVision) and several industrial cooperation ventures in the world – the most prominent of which is with the European Rheinmetall Group.
The manufacturing of the LMs is done in combination between the main production and R&D facility in Israel, together with assembly and manufacturing facilities in the US, India and soon in Italy.
UVision's Loitering Munition systems are already sold and deployed in some of the leading military forces and defense agencies in the world (including several NATO partner countries).
Recent conflicts in the world, and especially the war in Ukraine and the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, have highlighted the great advantages of this new and advanced concept compared to other weapon systems in use.
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