An undisclosed NATO country has awarded Germany’s Rheinmetall and Israeli UVision a contract to develop HERO loitering munition systems for its military.
The transaction includes the delivery of the next-generation Hero-30 combat system, a classified amount of munitions, related equipment, logistics, support, and training.
The order, placed in July 2022, is valued at six figures. It was awarded under secrecy clauses that limit the details revealed to the public, according to Rheinmetall.
The project is expected to be delivered in 2023, with potential additional orders.
Before the sale, the NATO partner conducted a market survey on the HERO’s effectiveness in service with other armed forces, including the US Marine Corps.
There is also the potential for additional purchases of the next-in-series HERO loitering munitions due to the “high operability” the country observed with the system.
Loitering munitions are remote-controlled airborne precision-strike systems that combine the advantages of guided missiles and drones.
The weapons allow target acquisition, intelligence gathering, and extended range firepower that few systems are capable of, Rheinmetall said.
When fired, the munitions can remain undetected in the air for an extended period, strike autonomously, abort a mission, reassign to other targets, and resume strike.
Most loitering munitions include a single or multi-canister launcher, communications technology, and a ground control module.
These light unmanned aerial systems use high-resolution electro-optical and infrared sensors to identify and monitor critical low-signature targets.