Rheinmetall has announced that a European NATO member has awarded the company and its partner UVision a contract to manufacture and supply HERO 30 loitering munitions for its special forces. According to the company, the contract encompasses:
- the delivery of HERO 30 loitering munitions
- training ammunition
- a simulator
- operator training
- logistics and servicing
The contract was reportedly placed in July 2022, with delivery scheduled by 2023 and an estimated value in the single-digit million Euro range.
The HERO 30 is the smallest member of the HERO family of loitering munitions, with a total weight of 3 kg, of which the warhead constitutes 0.5 kg. This is approximately equivalent to the effect of a 40 mm grenade, making the munition suited for engagement of soft targets and unprotected vehicles. The munition uses an electrically-powered pusher prop for propulsion, with a flight endurance of 30 minutes, and a maximum flight speed of 51 m/s. The maximum range is variable depending on the antenna selected. Rheinmetall lists a nominal maximum range of 10 km, however UVision has previously stated that this can be increased out to 40 km, depending on the antenna used.
HERO 30 Details
A HERO system comprises the munition, canister-type launcher, control unit, and a ground datalink terminal for radio communications. The system provide users with combined intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and strike capabilities, enabling the user to locate, track and engage time-critical targets without reliance on external cueing.
The order is particularly significant for Rheinmetall, as it is the first delivery to a major European NATO force. Rheinmetall subsidiary RWM Italia SpA and UVision entered into a cooperation agreement end of 2021. The partnership is aimed at opening up the market for loitering munitions in Europe and NATO, and bringing the products into line with the organisations’ respective standards. Under the agreement, UVision will contribute its products, which will then be further developed together with Rheinmetall. Rheinmetall will provide its industrial base and, in addition to European sales, will be responsible for qualification issues in accordance with European and NATO standards.
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