14 systems to combat Vampire drones with APKWS missiles will be manufactured for Ukraine. However, only four units will reach us by the middle of the year.
L3Harris Technologies has announced a contract to manufacture 14 Vampire systems with APKWS missiles. These are the same systems that were announced in the US aid package on August 24, 2022 within the framework of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. We will remind that under this aid program new weapons are ordered by the US from manufacturers and this requires the conclusion of a contract and their manufacture, reports Defense Express.
At the beginning of November, the Pentagon announced that the conclusion of the contract should take place “in the next few months.” And the deadline for the production of new weapons is no earlier than mid-2023.
But L3Harris said only four Vampire units will be delivered by mid-2023, with ten more by the end of this year. It is also stated that the system itself is new, its tests began only in 2021 and continued in the summer of 2022.
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The system is a symbiosis of 70-mm APKWS missiles guided by a semi-active laser guidance system, which is created by adding a special block to the Hydra NURS. The WESCAM MX-10 RSTA station, which combines a television and thermal imaging camera, as well as a laser illumination system and a laser range finder, is responsible for detecting and targeting missiles. Note that another version of the station — MX-15 — is used in Bayraktar TB2. Installation of missiles and the station is carried out on the chassis of a pickup truck.
We will remind that Ukraine will receive new Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles from the USA. The missiles will be part of a new $2.85 billion military aid package from the U.S. The package also includes 50 Bradley armored personnel carriers.