Ukrainian manufacturer and supplier of unmanned aerial systems, Athlon Avia Llc. has completed an initial series of guided flight trials of the developmental Silent Thunder smart loitering system, ArmyINFORM reported.
The Silent Thunder concept is a precision-guided weapon system that would defeat and destroy enemy targets with minimum risk to nearby civilian lives and infrastructures.
The loitering munition will be guided semi-automatically by television or IR guidance heads, which will be swappable as needed depending on the visibility and weather conditions.
The new Ukrainian smart loitering system has a cruise speed of more than 120 km/h. Mass at launch is under 10 kg. The system can be launched by an unmanned aircraft system. The round can be launched individually or as part of a swarm.
The munition will be avail¬able with warheads of several differ¬ent types and weights. Work is now underway on a Fuel Air Explosive (FAE) warhead weighing 3.5 kg, but other warhead types, including inter alia HEAT and HEF are also under consideration for this application. In the future company plans to work also on a shaped charge warhead to be used where there is a high risk of collateral damage.
According to Ukrainian Defense Review, guidance to the target carried out by way of on-board pro-cessing of video signal within the carrier drone, its flight path being up¬dated automatically till impact. The Silent Thunder would use a human operator to locate targets, then oper¬ate autonomously till the mission is accomplished. It would be able to op-erate autonomously while assessing the weather conditions in the target area, approaching the aiming point (with minimum cross-wind compo¬nent), and diving at the target.