Officially unveiling the HAROP loitering weapon at the Paris Air Show, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has announced receiving a contract to supply the HAROP Loitering Munition (LM) system to a foreign customer. Foreign sources hint the customer could be India. The contract is estimated to be worth over $100 million. Turkey is believed to be the launch customer for the HAROP, in 2005.
HAROP, a long endurance LM, can be launched from a variety of platforms. The expendable aerial vehicle combines the speed, precision and lethality of a guided missile with persistence, sensors and connectivity of a tactical UAV. HAROP can remain on a mission for six hours, performing area surveillance and reconnaissance, in support of specific area suppression and denial operations. It is fitted with an electro-optical payload, utilizing a high performance FLIR and color CCD, providing an electro-optical seeker, covering 360 degrees hemispherical field of regard. This sensor can search, detect and target, high value re-locateable, time critical, land or sea-based, moving targets, reporting their position with pinpoint accuracy, at long ranges.
When the operator decides to use the Harop for the final attack, the drone converts into an attack mode. The attack can be performed from any direction and at any attack angle, from flat to vertical, which is highly essential in urban area combat. Employing a steep-dive profile will also gain maximum speed and lethality. The 50 lb (23kg) high explosive charge is sufficient to cause significant damage to the target, while limiting collateral damage. The operator monitors the attack until the target is being hit. Another HAROP LM type can observe and send real-time video of Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) to the operator. The operator can command the drone to abort the attack, in order to avoid collateral damage, returning the LM to loitering mode, and restart the attack later. HAROP LMs are launched from transportable platforms and navigate towards the target area, where they loiter and search for designated targets.
A HAROP unit is comprised of LM launchers and a Mission Control Shelter (MCS) that enables missile control with a Man- in the- Loop operation, engagement or abort attack capability in real time, avoiding collateral damage. The HAROP can be applied to a variety of battle scenarios, including low and high-intensity conflicts, urban warfare and counter terror operations.