TechUkrainian Vampire system breathes new life into old rockets, annihilating Russian drone

Ukrainian Vampire system breathes new life into old rockets, annihilating Russian drone

VAMPIRE anti-drone system
VAMPIRE anti-drone system
Images source: © L3Harris
10:56 PM EST, February 14, 2024

A video from the Ukrainian navy depicts a Russian Shahed-136 drone being taken down after being highlighted by a laser pointer.

Video analysis by Defense 24 confirms that the Russian weapon, manufactured under a licensed agreement from Iran, was destroyed by the Vampire system.

The Vampire system cleverly integrates modern military technology with aging weapons, the mere 70 mm caliber Hydra rockets, whose value on today's battlefield seemed minimal until recently.

APKWS – fresh life for old rockets

Their capabilities have been radically expanded due to an adaptation named APKWS (Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System). This is akin to JDAM bombs, where standard free-falling bombs are converted into guided bombs by equipping them with a guidance system and control surfaces.

APKWS adopted a similar approach. The Hydra rockets were fitted with a guidance system and corresponding aerodynamic surfaces, transforming them into genuine guided weapons directed towards a target marked by a laser pointer.

Vampire Autonomous Anti-Drone System

Vampire (Vehicle-Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment), a weapon system that employs these types of rockets, was developed by L3Harris company.

The Vampire system combines a rocket launcher with an optoelectronic head and a target indicator on a single pallet. A key benefit is an independent power system that enables the Vampire to function fully autonomously.

This thoughtfully designed weapon can be mounted onto a pickup truck or trailer chassis, converting any typical vehicle into a laser-guided rocket transporter. Besides being an effective anti-drone weapon, it can also destroy ground targets, such as lightly armored vehicles or fortifications.

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