UVision Air has developed the Hero-400EC (Electric, Cruciform) loitering munition system to Technical Readiness Level (TRL) 8, with final development and a production model initial operating capability anticipated before the end of 2018.
An evolution of the earlier Hero-400 system – which was equipped with a petrol-powered engine and fixed planar wings – the 400EC features a new electric motor specifically developed for UVision by an undisclosed manufacturer. The motor delivers high-speed transit and low-speed loitering, with lower acoustic and thermal signatures. A modified mid-section deployable cruciform-wing configuration (akin to that of the company’s lighter- weight Hero-30 loitering system) provides for improved endurance, lift, and manoeuvrability, and precision terminal engagement accuracy against static or moving targets, or targets in confined urban environments.
The new system is 2.1 m long, has a wing-span (tip-to-tip) of 2.4 m, and has a maximum take-off weight of 40kg. Like the earlier Hero-400, the 400EC retains a stabilised electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) payload, and a line-of-sight (LOS) two-way datalink range of 40 km-150 km with a man-in-the-loop capability, although endurance in loitering munition mode is reduced from four hours to two hours because of the change in propulsion type.
The 400EC system retains an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability, but the 8 kg high-explosive warhead on the Hero-400 is replaced with a new, heavier up to 10 kg multipurpose warhead (tandem shaped-charge with high explosive) for engagement of a broad range of target sets, including main battle tanks.
An advanced abort capability enables automatic re-entry into the loitering mode, re-engagement of the enemy, or return to the recovery area using a parachute. Operational altitude is given as 18,000 ft (mean sea level) with loitering/transit speeds of 50-150 kt.
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