At the World Defense Show the Saudi National Company for Mechanical Systems (NCMS) exhibited in public for the first time its Air Drop Bomb, a lightweight solution mostly aimed at Class 1 UAS
Transforming commercial drones into weapon systems has become a normal process in the late few years, many of those dropping existing ordnance such as mortar bombs or 40 mm grenades. NCMS decided to develop a purpose-made weapon optimising the lethality versus mass ratio. The Air Drop Bomb, ADB in short is a light ordnance, 650 grams, with a thin spar that terminates with a six-fin assembly. The length of the ADB, which must not sustain the acceleration of a mortar bomb in the tube, is higher and should increase stability and accuracy after drop.
The fragmentation blast warhead is also optimised, design parameters being driven only by the lethal effects. The outer body contains a series of fragments, no details being provided on the latter, with the explosive at the centre. According to information provided by NMCS the lethal radios of an ADB is 20 metres.
At the WDS the ADB was shown installed on a commercial drone provided by Da-Jiang Innovations, DJI in short, one of the main producers of such systems. The DJI Matrice 300 RTK quadcopter has a maximum take-off weight of 9 kg, 2.7 kg being the payload. Three ADBs were installed horizontally, carried on a spar installed between the landing gear legs; the reduced weight of these ordnance left 750 grams for the optronic payload ensuring targeting and aiming. With full payload this UAS has a 55-minute endurance.
The choice of the DJI UAS was dictated by its easy availability, the NMCS ordnance being easily installable on any lightweight UAS.
The company already started production of its ADB, 1,000 such weapons having already being delivered to an undisclosed customer.
Photos by P. Valpolini