The U.S. Marines’ ‘Suicide Drones’ Are Getting New Launchers

October 14, 2021 Topic: Drones Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: DronesLoitering MunitionsIsraelUVisionHero-120

The U.S. Marines’ ‘Suicide Drones’ Are Getting New Launchers

Israel has been described in the recent past as an emerging “drone superstar,” and now the United States is reaping the benefits. 

The Israeli defense firm UVision last week unveiled its HERO Multi-Canister Launcher (MCL). According to the War Zone, the vehicle sports a “multi-round launcher for loitering munitions, which are often described as ‘suicide drones.’”

“UVision was recently awarded a contract to supply the Hero-120 aerial loitering munition and multi-canister launchers to the United States Marine Corps for its 'Organic Precision Fire Mounted' (OPF-M) program,” Jim Truxel, CEO of UVision USA, said in the Israeli company’s press release. “As part of this project, the MCLs will be installed on various platforms. We are proud that this latest development will be used in the field soon.”

“Giving field forces operational flexibility, the innovative capability enables them to choose and launch the most suitable system, depending on the nature of the mission and target—from the Hero-30 for smaller 'surgical' attacks, through the Hero-120 for medium-sized and armored targets, up to the Hero-400 for long-range and fortified targets,” the release added.

“With easy deployment, forces can now launch the advanced HERO series of munition systems from a single MCL, installed on one platform, gaining terrain dominance by combining RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition) with precise attack. For unprecedented attack capability, the new MCL enables combat forces to launch and operate the munition from within the platform, and engage targets at tactical ranges in excess of 75 km,” the release said. “The MCL is designed for modular adaptation to various types and sizes of platform, from armored vehicles to large, medium, and small watercraft, manned or autonomous. The ability to store, transport and launch the HERO loitering munition systems from a pre-loaded, sealed canister further increases battle readiness and provides the forces with available and effective missiles.”

UVision also exhibited the new systems this week at the Association of the U.S. Army's conference in Washington.

“Though the Marines have selected a service-specific variant of the Hero-120, UVision says the eight-cell MCL is capable of launching any version of that loitering munition, as well as other members of the Hero series, such as the Hero-30 and Hero-400EC," The War Zone said. "All these weapons are fired from the MCL via preloaded launch canisters, making it easier to load the desired types based on the situation or reload the entire launcher.”

Israel has been described in the recent past as an emerging “drone superstar,” citing UVision’s work specifically. However, that nation was among the first to ever use drones, going back to the 1970s, and in all of its other wars. The Iron Drone system, meanwhile, can be used against drones.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

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