Eurosatory 2022: Rheinmetall Mission Master XT displayed with Hero 120 loitering munition

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Rheinmetall displayed its Mission Master XT A-UGV with Hero 120 loitering munition at Eurosatory 2022. (Janes/Nicholas Fiorenza)

Rheinmetall is displaying its Mission Master XT autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) with a fire-support module armed with UVision Hero 120 loitering munition at the Eurosatory 2022 defence exhibition being held in Paris from 13 to 17 June. The A-UGV is shown with a six-cell launch container.

Rheinmetall said in a 13 June press release that the module was developed in co-operation with UVision. The two companies signed a strategic partnership agreement in October 2021 to market UVision products in Europe as a first phase, with joint development activities planned for the second stage.

Rheinmetall said the Hero 120's electro-optical/infrared seeker enables non-line-of-sight engagement during the day and at night, tracking static and moving targets. Integrated with the Mission Master XT, heavily armoured targets can be located, tracked, and destroyed at long ranges, according to the German company.

The Mission Master XT can operate in ice, snow, and sub-zero weather conditions, as well as sandy, rocky, and mountainous topographies, Rheinmetall said, adding that it can float and swim with a full payload.


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UK launches next phase of UAS Heavy Lift challenge

by Olivia Savage

The Royal Navy trialling Windracers Autonomous Systems' Ultra fixed-wing UAS (pictured) in the UASHLC. (Crown Copyright 2022)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched Phase 2 of the Unmanned Aerial Systems Heavy Lift Capability (UASHLC) challenge.

According to the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) published on 5 August, the MoD is seeking to “support and inform the development of maritime operating concepts and enable assessment, analysis, exploration, and evaluation of the use of UAS for beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) payload delivery and broader UAS capabilities”. The MoD is therefore seeking to accelerate the development of one or more suppliers' platforms, as well as the key technologies that will enhance UAS operational capabilities.

The closing date for suppliers to submit a PQQ is 5 September, with a contract expected to run from September 2022 to August 2027, the MoD said. Up to GBP95 million (USD116 million) is available for the programme, the MoD added.

The MoD was unable to provide further comment at the time of publication.


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Czech Republic to buy Heron UAVs from Israel

by Gareth Jennings

The Czech Republic is looking to buy three Heron 1 UAVs from Israel, with the deal expected to be concluded by the end of 2022. (IAI)

The Czech Republic is to buy three Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron 1 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of the country's wider Concept of Capability Construction of the Army of the Czech Republic plan.

The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the plan on 8 August, saying that negotiations for the procurement are to begin with the Israeli government shortly as it plans to acquire equipment seen “as crucial in conducting aerial reconnaissance and performing other tasks for direct combat support and protection of Czech army units”.


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Iraq returns CH-4 UAV to service

by Jeremy Binnie

One of the IAAC's CH-4s displayed with AR-1 missiles and FT-9 bombs at Balad Air Base. (Iraqi Ministry of Defence)

The Iraqi Army Aviation Command (IAAC) has returned its first Chinese-made CH-4 armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to service, it was announced on 8 August, when Minister of Defence Juma Enad Saadoun visited the IAAC area of Balad Air Base.

The Iraqi Ministry of Defence (MoD) released a video showing Saadoun being shown a ground control station and watching a CH-4 armed with AR-1 laser-guided missiles and FT-9 bombs take-off.

Saadoun said in the video that the UAVs played a large role in the war against the Islamic State extremist group, but were put in storage in 2017 because of their age. A contract was signed with the manufacturer in 2021 to return them to service and the work began about a month ago, he said.

The Iraqi MoD unveiled the CH-4s in October 2015 but did not reveal how many it had acquired.


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Rheinmetall is displaying its Mission Master XT autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (A-UGV) with a fi...

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