Loitering munition: Rheinmetall sells first kamikaze drones to NATO state

In the present wars, the military is increasingly using remote-controlled warheads. The German defence ministry calls such weapons „worrying“. But after similar plans a decade ago, the Bundeswehr is again considering to procure them.

For the first time, the arms manufacturer Rheinmetall has won an order for its loitering munition. According to a press release from last September, the unnamed customer is a special forces unit of a NATO state. Rheinmetall states the value of the order to be in the „single-digit million euro range“. Delivery is scheduled until 2023.

The NATO buyer, which according to speculation could be Hungary, has ordered the HERO-30. This is the smallest version of the HERO family of „loiter-capable munitions“, which can circle over their target for up to 30 minutes. It is launched from a tube using compressed air, unfolds its pivoting wings in flight and is powered by a silent electric motor. „Loitering munition: Rheinmetall sells first kamikaze drones to NATO state“ weiterlesen

Takeover of German manufacturer: Rheinmetall re-enters the drone business

Equipping the German Army’s reconnaissance force with new LUNA drones seems to be secured, so a sale of the insolvent German manufacturer EMT to Israel is off the table. The Bundeswehr has also commissioned a study for kamikaze drones, such a system is also offered by Rheinmetall.

Defence contractor Rheinmetall is taking over major parts of insolvent drone manufacturer EMT from Penzberg in Bavaria. This was announced by the company’s Düsseldorf headquarters in a press release this week. The company, founded in 1978 by Hartmut Euer, a graduate engineer, built the LUNA tactical drone for the German armed forces. Originally, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems from Israel was supposed to buy up the company’s bankruptcy assets. This option is now off the table.

Rheinmetall intends to retain the four EMT sites in Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein and integrate them and their 200 employees into the group structure. The group is thus returning to the drone business. Rheinmetall had developed the KZO („Kleinfluggerät Zielortung“) in the 1990s and sold 61 of these systems to the Army. In 2010, the company also won the contract to fly the Israeli HERON 1 for the Air Force, but gave this contract to EADS-Cassidian two years later. The jointly formed business was merged into the restructured Airbus Group in 2014. „Takeover of German manufacturer: Rheinmetall re-enters the drone business“ weiterlesen

Germany’s long road to drone power

The German Bundeswehr has been flying reconnaissance drones for 60 years, and now they are to be armed. In a study, the author describes all German military drones and the role of the Airbus Group.

According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, Agnès Callamard, more than a hundred states have drones in military use. Most of these are reconnaissance and surveillance systems that date back to well into the last century. Germany is one of the countries that have been using unmanned systems for decades.

In the early 1960s, the Ministry of Defence sent 22 soldiers to the Grafenwoehr military training area for training on US drones, and others were trained as maintenance and repair personnel in the USA. They flew a drone made by a US manufacturer that was later taken over by Northrop Grumman. Today, the US defence contractor builds the world’s largest military unmanned aerial vehicle, the „Global Hawk“; several air forces of NATO countries and also the military alliance itself fly the giant drone for surveillance and reconnaissance. „Germany’s long road to drone power“ weiterlesen

After the war over Nagorno-Karabakh: British military flirts with Turkish-style armed drones

Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles are smaller and much cheaper than their US counterparts. They can be procured in large numbers, so their loss in action is of little consequence.

There is growing support in the UK for a new programme with smaller armed drones. This is what the daily „Guardian“ writes with reference to senior officials of the British Ministry of Defence. According to the paper, the military should procure light-weight unmanned aerial vehicles like those used by Turkey in Azerbaijan’s attack on the region around Nagorno-Karabakh. These are significantly cheaper than the US combat drones currently flown by the Air Force. Therefore, they could be bought in much larger numbers.

Azerbaijan’s six-week war against the Armenian-defended region of Nagorno-Karabakh is considered the first to be decided with the help of drones. The Azerbaijani military used so-called kamikaze drones of the type „Harop“ from Israel, which can circle over the area of operations for hours before hitting. The German Army had also considered procuring these „loitering munitions“ until 2013, but initially postponed the plans until 2019 and later abandoned them in favour of larger drones. „After the war over Nagorno-Karabakh: British military flirts with Turkish-style armed drones“ weiterlesen

Rheinmetall shows drone tank combination with kamikaze drone

In Unterlüß, 600 antimilitarists demonstrated against Rheinmetall. At the same time, the company presented a new weapon system. The combination of a flying drone and a land drone should be able to fight enemy targets in swarms in the future. A company boss praises the system as a „surgical strike with minimal collateral damage“.

Rheinmetall intends to expand modern warfare with unmanned land vehicles. The German armaments group has developed a drone tank that is about to go into series production and is to be sold worldwide. The „Mission Master“ is designed for surveillance, troop transport or recovery of wounded behind enemy lines. It can also be armed with 70 mm rocket launchers from the French company Thales to support battles.

As an Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV), the combat robot can be operated remotely, semi-automatically or fully autonomously with a programmed routine. The system is powered by an electric motor and can operate for up to eight hours. The „Mission Master“ weighs 750 kilograms and can carry up to 600 kilograms, with a low payload the vehicle can allegedly also swim. „Rheinmetall shows drone tank combination with kamikaze drone“ weiterlesen