In the midst of May, one of the NATO member states has received the first production batch of the WARMATE unmanned aerial vehicles. The aforesaid system has been acquired for the Special Forces and it is going to face operational use.
The final hand-off has been preceded by a handing-off test programme, which took place at one of the army training ranges. During the test programme, the system has been able to precisely hit a 2.3×2.3 metre target (NATO Standard Target). Moreover, radio communications range tests also took place, covering the ability to operate the system at distances of 12 kilometres from the operator station. Flight duration was 50 minutes. The handing-off test procedure took place thanks to the support provided by the Polish MoD.
The delivery that is taking place is yet another one, taking place since the global premiere of the system, which happened during the DSEi defence exhibition held in London, back in September 2015.
Warmate UAV is a multi-purpose system, and depending on the applied warhead, it may be used for the following tasks:
- Reconnaissance and surveillance missions (observation optronic system)
- Reconnaissance and attack sorties against the enemy personnel (observation system with a fragmentation explosive warhead)
- Reconnaissance and attack sorties against armoured targets (observation system with an anti-tank warhead)
Warmate may use a 1 kg warhead of two types: high-explosive/fragmentation GO-1 warhead, or HEAT GK-1 warhead. The HEAT warhead makes it possible to penetrate up to 240 millimetres of armour in case of a direct hit. This enables the user to apply the UAV in question, in order to act against numerous armoured vehicles present within the battlefield, especially in cases when the top portion of the armour is hit. The fragmentation warhead, on the other hand, which is a more typical payload for this system, weighs 1 kilogram, whereas the explosive material constitutes 300 grams of its weight, with effective radius of explosion of 10 meters.
WARMATE UAV may be used as an independent system, being carried or transported by an element of the land or special forces. The design of the system makes it possible to install it on a vehicular platform (car, armoured carriers) and to integrate the command and control suite with the vehicle-borne system. The UAV is controlled via a remote control panel with a directional antenna. The airframe is launched into the air with the use of a pneumatic launch system. The whole package is contained in two backpacks, weighing several kilograms. The first backpack houses two UAVs and three warheads, while the second one contains take-off and control devices. Warmate may also be vehicle-mounted. In this case, take-off is possible to be realized in ca. 3 minutes.
The loitering munitions manufactured by the WB Electronics company constitute an alternative for the ATGMs, offering an ability to operate within a much wider operational radius, also allowing the operator to detect and observe the potential target, with a relatively high degree of time comfort.
WARMATE airborne platform, in combat use, is expected to be a single-use UAV. In case of the reconnaissance use, the said system may be used more than once. WARMATE UAV is a fully autonomous solution, making it possible to operate an airborne combat system in real time, on the basis of the video material gathered by the observation subsystem. The system has been equipped with control modules, making it possible to fully automate most of the flight stages, including the guidance stage.
The operator retains full control and is fully responsible for switching the unit into a “combat” mode, allowing the user to carry out the fire mission. The project is currently being financed with own assets provided by WB Electronics. Development works on similar platforms, on the other hand, are already being implemented in the United States of America or Israel.