Loitering weapons system combines drones developed by both nations.
A rare look into Israel’s unmanned weapons capabilities was revealed on Tuesday with an announcement by Germany’s Rheinmetall that it had jointly developed with Israel a loitering weapons system based on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The system, called WABEP, which in German stands for “Weapons system for standoff engagement of individual and point targets,” was developed by Rheinmetall together with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a world leader in the development of UAVs and loitering weapons.
The WABEP is a combination of Rheinmetall’s KZO drone and IAI’s Harop attack drone, which according to media reports, is already in operational use in India and Turkey.
The Harop was developed as a weapon to suppress enemy radar systems used together with surface-to-air missiles or other similar high-value targets.
The Harop can fly to a designated loitering position where it searches for electromagnetic signals from surface-to-air missile batteries and then dives in to destroy them.
Loitering weapons systems is considered a highly-classified topic in Israel, which is believed to have developed a number of systems over the years capable of loitering over battlefields and engaging static and mobile targets. The Harop, for example, can stay in air for a number of hours during which time its operator can hunt for a target.
Such systems are believed to be critical ahead of a future conflict with an enemy like Hezbollah, which has deployed tens of thousands of missiles and launchers throughout Lebanon.
Last month, the IDF Artillery Corps revealed that it uses a missile called the Tamuz, which has seen action in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
The Tamuz is based on Rafael’s Spike non-line-of-sight missile, which has a range of 25 kilometers and can penetrate armored vehicles.