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ILA 2024: Rheinmetall showcases LUNA NG UAV developed for Germany

The LUNA NG on display at ILA 2024. Designed for the German Army, the system has also been donated to Ukraine. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Rheinmetall showcased a new vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that it has developed for the German military on the back of lessons learned from the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war at the ILA Berlin Air Show, the biennial event being held from 5 to 9 June.

The Luftgestützte Unbemannte Nahaufklärungsausstattung (LUNA NG) UAV, which translates as Unmanned Airborne Vehicle for Close Reconnaissance Next Generation, was publicly presented for the first time at ILA 2024.

“Operational experience of the war in Ukraine shows the crucial role that real-time reconnaissance results play for command and control,” the German manufacturer said.

Built with carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), the LUNA NG has a datalink range of 150 km (increased to an operational range of around 500 km with optional satellite communications equipment) and an endurance of 12 hours. With a payload of 30 kg, the example shown at ILA 2024 was displayed with a small glide bomb fitted to one of the wings.

It also has two payload compartments for sensors, including synthetic aperture radar (SAR), hyperspectral and high-resolution digital photo or video cameras, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and electronic warfare (EW) sensors, landmine detectors, a radio relay, an automatic identification system (AIS), and a radio frequency (RF) jammer.

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