14 August 2023 – Rheinmetall has reached another milestone with its LUNA NG reconnaissance drone.
The Group’s next-generation LUNA NG air-supported short-range reconnaissance system will soon be in action in Ukraine. The system should be ready for delivery in the course of 2023. The order now placed is worth a low double-digit million euro amount. Rheinmetall is therefore making another important contribution to enhancing the effectiveness of the Ukrainian military through advanced technology. The LUNA NG has already clocked on several thousand hours of flying time, to include active deployment.
Experience accumulated during the war in Ukraine shows how crucial having real-time reconnaissance results can be at the operational level. This is precisely the purpose of the LUNA NG, an acronym standing for “Unbemannte Nahaufklärungs¬ausstattung der nächsten Generation” or “unmanned short-range reconnaissance equipment, next generation”. The last word in unmanned air-supported reconnaissance, it can detect, classify and recognize objects in real time.
An unmanned aerial system, the LUNA NG comprises a ground control station and several unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones. The system also includes the launch catapult, an optional net equipment for catching the drones when they land as well as equipment for rapid repair. The entire system is mounted on an HX truck with a swap body system made by Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles.
Thanks to their ultralight high-stability design, LUNA NG drones can remain aloft for over twelve hours. Moreover, when fitted with optional StaCom equipment, they have a datalink range of up to 300 kilometres. It has a reconnaissance capability of several hundred kilometres with sufficient time over the mission area.
The LUNA NG system ordered for Ukraine is part of an extensive military aid package initiated by the German government in July 2023. The Bundeswehr is currently introducing the LUNA NG unmanned reconnaissance system under the name “Husar”.
Now placed, this order represents a major milestone for Rheinmetall’s UAV and the Group’s digitalization strategy. LUNA NG is an advanced sensor component for networked operations, which significantly increases the performance of the sensor-to-shooter chain. At the same time, LUNA NG provides the basis for future development of Rheinmetall’s product portfolio both in the field of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities and in the field of tactical payloads.
Photo courtesy Rheinmetall