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The Maccabean Online

Political Analysis and Commentary
on Israeli and Jewish Affairs

"For Zion's sake I shall not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest."



 

WEAPONS FROM ISRAEL

 

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Hunter Killer drone target
Ballistic Missile Launchers
 

A derivative of the operational Harpy radar killer drone, developed and built by IAI/MBT is proposed as a hunter-killer drone, operated from land based truck mounted launchers or from ship based launchers. The unmanned weapon, will be able to strike targets of opportunities such as silent enemy air defense weapons, and ballistic missile launchers.

The joint program was initially proposed by IAI/MBT and Raytheon as "Cutlass" for Combat Uninhabited Target Locate and Strike System. Initially displayed in the Paris Air Show in 1999, the system combined the airframe of the Harpy UAV, made by Israel Aircraft Industries, with advanced sensors made by Raytheon Systems, which also manufactures the HARM (High Speed Anti-Radiation) missile. Cutlass was adapted for ship-based operations to support US Navy operations over land. It is designed for six hours missions, flying at speed of 100 knots and maximum range of 1,000 km.

 

In October 2005 a derivative of Harpy presented by MBDA in cooperation with IAI/MBT Division was selected as one of the finalists for the UK Loitering Munition Capability Demonstration (LMCD) program.

Harpy Air Defense Suppression System

Dedicated for the Suppression of Air Defense (SEAD)mission, Harpy is an operational loitering attack weapon. The current version of Harpy is deployed as a fire and forget weapon. It patrols the assigned area, and will attack any hostile radar activated in its vicinity. When used in appropriate numbers, Harpy can be launched into a target area to support continuous operations, or time limited strike packages. Unlike anti-radar missiles such as HARM, whose speed, range and direction of approach are predictable, the killer drone deployment is more flexible and unpredictable, and therefore, conventional countermeasures techniques are not useful against it. In fact, Harpy is holding enemy radars at risk throughout its mission. Harpy system is designed to operate multiple munitions simultaneously over a specific area, to effectively cover the target. Each drone is deployed autonomously, without interference and overlapping the other drones. (continue)

 

 

 

The Harpy mission is planned and programmed in the battery ground control center, as an independent mission, or planned in accordance with other manned or unmanned systems. Prior to launch, individual weapons are programmed and tested, to verify their operational readiness. After the rocket-assisted launch, the drone flies autonomously enroute to its patrol area, predefined by a set of navigational waypoints. Due to its low speed and economical fuel consumption, the drone can sustain a mission of several hours over the target area. Its radar seeker head constantly search for hostile radars, both along and across the flight track. Once suspicious radar is acquired, Harpy compares the signal to the library of hostile emitters, and prioritizes the threat. If the target is verified, the drone enters an attack mode, as it transitions into a near vertical dive, homing on the signal. The drone is set to detonate its warhead just above the target, to generate the highest damage to the antennae, and surrounding facilities. If the radar is turned off before Harpy strikes, the drone can abort the attack and continue loitering. If no radar was spotted during the mission, the drone is programmed to self destruct over a designated area. Follow-on systems which are already proposed to foreign clients, are calling for a combination of seeker and killer drones that will enable visual identification and attack of targets even after they turn off their emitters.

Israel Unveils Loitering Anti-Missile Drone

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is developing a loitering killer drone that has the capability to hunt illusive ground targets, such as anti-aircraft systems and mobile or concealed ballistic missile launchers. This expendable unmanned aerial vehicles, known as Harop, can be launched over a suspected area without specifically acquiring a specific target. Designed to reach targets at distances over 1,000km away, the UAV loiter over a suspected area for hours, spot target as they are exposed before activation and attack them immediately. IAI is already negotiating potential export sales of the weapon with India and Turkey. The company exposed the system for the first time in India, before the Aero-India 2009 airshow.
Harop resembles an earlier IAI's 'suicide drone' known as Harpy. The main differences are the outer wing extensions, the longer nose and canard foreplane. Like Harpy, Harrop is launched from a vehicle-mounted container. Harop augments the Harpy's RF seeker with an electro-optical sensor, allowing it to acquire and pursue non emitting targets and moving targets, as well as 'quit' targets such as shut-down radars. As a loitering weapon, Harop can also be used against suspected ballistic missile sites, where target missile silos and shelters as they are opened before firing. (continue)
 

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India is considering acquiring Harpy 2 (also known as 'Harop') killer drones developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, as part of a procurement program valued over $US1 billion. Harop is an evolution of the Harpy killer drone, optimized to operate against enemy radars and surface/air missiles. Harpy was developed in the 1990s and has been successfully exported to countries around the world.
 
Turkey is also interested in this Lethal Unmanned Aerial System capability and by the end of 2008 the Ministry of Defense was considering enhancing the Harpy radar killer drone capability with the loitering killer drone version of the system.
The Harop has evolved at IAI through a series of international cooperations that have never fully matured. In 1999 IAI discussed a joint prograp Raytheon known as the "Cutlass", pursuing a 'Combat Uninhabited Target Locate and Strike System'. Initially displayed in the Paris Air Show in 1999, the system combined the airframe of the Harpy UAV, made by Israel Aircraft Industries, with advanced sensors made by Raytheon Systems, which also manufactures the HARM (High Speed Anti-Radiation) missile. Cutlass was adapted for ship-based operations to support US Navy operations over land. It is designed for six hours missions, flying at speed of 100 knots and maximum range of 1,000 km. Unlike the autonomous Harpy, Cutlass also has a direct line-of-sight datalink capability at range up to 150 km. This range can be extended via relays built into each weapon.
In October 2005 Harop dubbed 'White Hawk', was presented to the UK Ministry of Defense, by a team lead by MBDA that also included IAI/MBT Division. Although MBDA was eventually selected as one of the finalists for the UK Loitering Munition Capability Demonstration (LMCD) program (which later evolved into the Fire Shadow), White Hawk was not selected for the program, as the MOD insisted on an 'all British' team.

 

The drone weighs 135 kg, and is 2.1 meter long with a 2.7 meter span. It is sealed in its sealed launcher/container, to endure harsh battlefield conditions. It can be fueled or defueled in the launcher, therefore retaining its readiness at all time. The system uses periodical built-in test to maintain full readiness. In order to verify the drone¢s operational capability, its seeker head is being tested by a special radar simulator just before launch, to ensure that all systems are working. 

The radar killer drone is launched from a canister which is also used as a launcher. Current Harpy modules are installed on trucks, and can be carried by C-130 transport aircraft. Each truck carries 18 weapon launchers. Each battery of Harpy is composed of three trucks, capable of deploying up to 54 drones for simultaneous, coordinated attack. The battery also has a ground control station and logistical support element. The system can also be deployed from the decks of assault landing ships, in support of marine or amphibious operations.

Harpy is currently operational with the Turkish, Korean, Chinese and Indian Armies, in addition to the Israel Air Force. In December 2004 China was reported to be interested in an upgrade of its systems to a more advanced version. Part of this work, conducted at IAI in 2005 caused severe friction between Jerusalem and Washington, as the Pentagon blamed Israel of assisting China in modernizing its weapon in breach of its agreements with the USA. In October 2005 a derivative of Harpy presented by MBDA in cooperation with IAI/MBT Division was selected as one of the finalists for the UK Loitering Munition Capability Demonstration (LMCD) program.
 

 

Unlike the autonomous Harpy, Cutlass also has a direct line-of-sight datalink capability at range up to 150 km. This range can be extended via relays built into each weapon. Like Harpy, Cutlass primarily is a SEAD weapon, relying on a blast-fragmentation warhead, but Cutlass is different from Harpy in its semi-autonomous mode of operation. When a potential target is located, the information is data-linked to an operator in the ground station to confirm target identification and to provide positive man-in-the-loop attack permission. With different seekers, the killer drone can also be used for hunting of ballistic missile launchers, urban warfare, and attacking vehicles. Other potential missions for an unarmed version of the Cutlass could be reconnaissance, target acquisition and battle-damage assessment, he said. It operates at an altitude of 6,000 feet, to avoid ground fire.