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Loitering munition is a weapon system category in which the munition loiters around the target area for some time, searches for targets, and attacks once a target is located. Loitering munitions enable faster reaction times against concealed or hidden targets that emerge for short periods without placing high-value platforms close to the target area, and also allow more selective targeting as the actual attack mission can be aborted. According to Wikipedia, Loitering munitions fit in the niche between cruise missiles and unmanned combat aerial vehicles and are also known as kamikaze or suicide drones.
According to defence24.com, the first Warmate loitering munitions systems have been delivered to the Regional Logistics Base mid-December. Following this procedure, the systems are going to be received by the NIL military unit, the Polish special forces logistics unit, where they would be used to develop training procedures and tactics, as the armament procured is a completely new solution to the Polish military.
The equipment received by the Polish Armed Forces constitutes the first lot of 1000 Warmate UAVs ordered by the Polish Ministry of Defence led by Antoni Macierewicz. More deliveries are planned to happen next year. PLN 100 million order cost is associated with procurement of 100 packages (1000 units).
Warmate armament system utilizes UAVs fitted with warheads. The warheads may vary, depending on mission of the given UAV. The available selection includes anti-tank (for acting against light armor), fragmentation (for acting against enemy soldiers) or thermobaric (for acting against fortifications) warheads.
Systems as such are only manufactured only in a few countries around the world. The U.S and Israel both remain in possession of technologies required to create loitering munitions. The aforesaid countries have recently been joined by Poland. The Polish solution has already been proven by the user in actual combat, as the UAV in question has been acquired by several foreign customers too. One of the NATO member states is also utilizing the aforementioned solution.
The manufacturer claims that Warmates may be used at distances exceeding 10 kilometers, offering flight endurance of more than 30 minutes. Operational ceiling for the system has been defined as 30-200 meters, while maximum altitude at which the system may fly is 500 meters. However, this performance is available if the UAV is used at altitudes of no more than 3 kilometers above the sea level. Top speed of the system is 150 kph.
“Precision-guided loitering munitions make it possible to provide PGM’s at low levels – for infantry squads or platoons – that remain capable of acting against light armored targets or even APCs at vast distances. Thus they provide a higher level of safety for our operators” – stated Adam Bartosiewicz, WB Electronics VP.