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Kamikaze drone loiters above, waits for target

New drone from Israel is designed to crash into its target, then destroy itself with 50 pounds of on-board explosives.


A new kamikaze drone out of Israel is designed to hang about overhead until it spots a target, then crash into it with "pinpoint accuracy" destroying the target, and itself, with 50 pounds of on-board explosives.

While classified as a Loitering Munition, the HAROP comes equipped with many of the usual UAV capabilities: high-performance FLIR and color CCD camera with 360-degree hemispherical coverage, allowing it to transmit video back to its operators just like a surveillance drone.

Like its predecessor the Harpy, the HAROP will be used to take out high-value targets such as air defense radars that transmit a strong pulse. But there's nothing to indicate it can't home-in on a cell phone call from a moving car. Fortunately, the developer, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), has thoughtfully included a Man in the Loop feature that enables the missile to be controlled in real time in case an attack needs aborting to avoid collateral damage.

The HAROP can be launched from a variety of platforms, including a ground vehicle. Launched out the box on a booster rocket, it unfold its wings, starts up an internal-combustion driven pusher propeller, and begins the hunt. Once a target is identified, it can crash "from any direction and at any attack angle, from flat to vertical which is highly essential in urban areas."

IAI has reportedly already signed a $100 million-plus contract to supply the lethal loiterers to an unidentified customer. Throwaway UAVs may do for IAI what disposable razors have done for Gillette.