Rheinmetall and its partner UVision have won the first order from a major European NATO military force for HERO loitering munitions. The customer, a special forces unit, placed an initial order for Hero-30 combat and training munitions, simulator, training courses as well as integrated logistics equipment and support. This first order is worth a figure in the single-digit million-euro range with possible additional orders that might be expected. The exact number of munitions to be supplied is classified. The order was placed in July 2022, with delivery scheduled to take place by 2023. Hero 30 has been in service with the Israel Defense Forces, US Special Operations Command, and several international military forces. The weapon has recently been selected by the Marine Corps.
The order is particularly important for both Rheinmetall and UVision as it is the first delivery to a major European NATO force. This strengthens the joint presence of both partners in Europe. The contract was awarded under secrecy clauses which limit revealing its full details to the public. Before awarding the contract, the customer conducted a market survey indicating that the HERO family had already proven itself in service with other armed forces such as the United States Marine Corps. In addition, it was noted that due to the high operability of the HERO systems family, there is the possibility that the customer will also introduce the next-in-series HERO loitering munitions into its forces in the future.
Developed and produced by the Israeli company Uvision Air Ltd., the Hero series weapon systems are distributed in Europe as part of a cooperation between UVision Air Ltd. and Rheinmetall’s Italian subsidiary RWM Italia S.p.A. who will also manufacture the weapons for European customers. In October 2021, Rheinmetall and the Israeli company UVision entered a strategic partnership in the field of loitering munition. In this partnership, Rheinmetall and UVision jointly address the rapidly growing market for remote-controlled precision ammunition.
Hero 30 is a Man-Pack portable weapon deployed within minutes, the Hero-30 is powered by an electrical motor accelerating the drone to speeds of up to 100 knots. The weapon weighs 7.8 kg and carries a high explosive fragmentation warhead weighing 0.5 kg and is optimized for anti-personnel missions. The weapon’s range is 15 km with a loitering endurance of 30 minutes. Hero 30 is carried in a canister that serves as a launcher. Several such canisters can be mounted on a multi-canister launch rack to launch multiple weapons quickly.