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Rheinmetall’s new Luna recon drone set for operations in Ukraine

Photo: Rheinmetall

The German defense group Rheinmetall has revealed an order for the provision of its next-generation Luna NG air-supported short-range reconnaissance system to Ukraine, with delivery scheduled by year-end.

As part of a military aid package initiated by the German government in July 2023, the company disclosed the order, valuing the Luna NG at a sum in the low double-digit million euros.

The Bundeswehr is currently introducing the Luna NG unmanned reconnaissance system under the name “Husar”.

Drones have seamlessly integrated into the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, playing a pivotal role across diverse phases of the ongoing struggle. Both opposing factions have incorporated extensive fleets of drones, along with advanced air defense and jamming systems.

Consequently, upon delivery, the Luna NG drone is anticipated to strengthen Kyiv’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, thereby offering vital support to Ukraine’s ongoing counter-offensive operations.

The unmanned aerial system Luna NG (short for “unmanned short-range reconnaissance equipment, next generation”) is equipped with the capability to detect, classify, and identify objects in real-time. It includes a ground control station and multiple unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones.

Additionally, the system incorporates a launch catapult, an optional net apparatus for capturing drones upon landing, and tools for swift repairs. The entirety of this setup is affixed to an HX truck with a swap body system, crafted by Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles.

According to Rheinmetall’s statement, due to their ultralight design, Luna NG drones have the capacity to stay airborne for more than twelve hours. Additionally, when equipped with optional StaCom equipment, these drones possess a datalink range of up to 300 kilometers. The reconnaissance capability extends over several hundred kilometers, allowing time for operations within the mission area.

With the goal of strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities against aerial threats, the Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace has also declared its support by committing to deliver Counter Uncrewed Aerial Systems (C-UAS) worth US$71 million.