Full demonstration in the U.S of the HERO-30 Loitering Weapon System (LWS) is now scheduled for the first quarter of 2021, with manufacturer UVision planning to demonstrate an integrated solution based on a multi-canister launcher mounted on an Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).
Uvision has answered the issued RFI for the repeatedly delayed U.S Army Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS) programme, which will allow infantry soldiers to attack targets beyond line of sight by using miniature LWSs. The Army currently operates the SWITCHBLADE system manufactured by AeroVironment, but now requires a more advanced solution. The LMAMS programme has been delayed several times with a planned visit to Israel of experts from the U.S Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and U.S. Marines scheduled for December 2018 being cancelled, then postponed again.
The current version of the HERO-30 weighs 6.5 pounds and is carried in a canister that doubles as a pneumatic launcher, with an electric motor engaging after launch. It is equipped with a day/night sensor and has an endurance of 30 minutes with the company working on extending the endurance. After the HERO-30 is launched it locks onto the predesigned target and transmits the video to the operator using a hand held unit, loitering at altitudes between 1000 and 2000 feet above the ground. The data link that was developed for the system can control it in ranges of 6 to 25 miles, depending on the antenna used.
The special derivative of the HERO-30 loitering weapon system will be lighter and carry a smaller warhead but will be capable of hitting the target very accurately with a 1.2 pound warhead. The Israeli company has recently developed a new launcher for the HERO-30 which reportedly offers reduced system weight, greater safety and ease-of-use during launch, and can be easily mounted on military platforms. Its pneumatic launch, low noise and low thermal signature make the HERO-30 an invisible, high-precision and lethal attacker, providing a major asset to the fighting force. If the Hero-30 is selected, Raytheon will serve as the main contractor.
Different loitering systems are used by Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) special units operating in the framework of the “Depth Command” while the HERO-30 has also been purchased by armed forces.