back to article Israeli robo-kamikaze selling like hot exploding cakes

The Israeli arms industry appears to have stolen a march on that of Britain in the field of "loitering munitions" - aerial surveillance drones equipped with warheads and designed for one-way strike missions. While Blighty pays large sums to develop a partly homegrown example, Israel is already making substantial export sales of …


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  1. Simon Ball

    Didn't we build something like this years ago?

    Apart from, presumably, a greater loiter time, this doesn't sound like something that couldn't have been done by adapting ALARM for ground launch.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Robo Kamikaze

    Just when you thought we'd run out of new ways to waste money on weapons, someone comes up with a new one.

    War is a complete waste of resources and the planet only has a limited supple which we are rapidly using up.

    In fact, the only thing which we know that is replaceable is human life - which is why I'm advocating a return to clubs, knifes and spears in warfare.

    The plus side is that we'd also save money. If we hired British companies to make the clubs, knifes and spears then we'd also be helping the UK economy and creating jobs...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    So how can the Israelis...

    ... build these and some fairly competent UAVs on their own, while the UK can't? I thought the whole idea of buying British was to maintain an indepenent UK arms manufacturing capability?

    Seems that policy has failed big-time if we have to go to the septics or whoever for the technology.

  4. Dave Bell

    How big a bang?

    Obviously, precision guidance means a single small warhead can do the job, but not every time.

    And I'd rather have some traditional artillery when the weather is bad.

    To be honest,this sounds like a politicians wet dream. Anyone told them that the sort of target worth a system like this is rather like a politician.

  5. Fredly


    How many munitions are the Turks getting for their reported $100M?

    How does the German versions capability differ to the capability offered by Tomohawk?

    When was the last GMLRS fired in anger? And how quickly could the Americans re-supply us?

    Why buy non re-usable self propelled munitions when Predator UAVs can perform surveillance and strike and be re-used?

    You state "IFPA is slated to cost at least £500m overall" yet this figure somehow magically doubles a few lines later "Rather, the £1bn of IFPA cash is being spent in accordance with..."

    What is the true figure?

  6. Marc Savage


    Always with the MOD bashing

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Harpy first?

    Wasn't the BAe ALARM missile the first to be able to loiter with intent?

    Admittedly it loitered by going high and then using a parachute to hang about until needed so it probably could loiter for less time than the oversize RC model aeroplane that is the Harpy.

  8. Hector K Spankthrust III


    Looks remarkably like a Klingon Bird of Prey.........

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Given how many Predators have been accidentally crashed by USAF pilots

    Who needs a suicide UAV? Just have a USAF pilot fly the thing.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    British one looks a bit rubbish to be honest

    That looks like it was made on Scrapheap Challenge from an old fizzy drinks bottle and some discarded floorboards. Meanwhile, the Israeli one has a swoopy touch of the Gerry Anderson to it, no wonder it's selling so well. I wonder if it comes with an F.A.B. theme tune?

    If we're going to spend all this money on killware can at least some of the funds go towards making it look as good as the stuff that used to feature in 'Eagle' and 'Look and Learn'* like the TSR-2 and the Advanced Passenger Train**?

    * Did anyone ever buy 'Look and Learn' or was it only available in your dentist's waiting room?

    ** Though to be fair, most British weapons *work* as well as the APT, they just don't look as cool.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Question of trust

    Only one flaw in this cunning plan. The israeli's are responsible for more tapping, worming, and general spying on their friendly neighbours than the whole "Axis of Evil" and China put together.

    We could buy Harops - but the Israelis would probably retain more control than we would.

  12. Claus P. Nielsen

    Too tempting to lose?

    Since this drone cannot be reused I guess the target selection criteria gets less and less rigorous the longer it is in the air.

    "We saw a bus filled with armed midgets, and the missile only had 10 seconds more airtime, so we took the shot rather than waste the bird"

    "Kids on a fishing trip? Who could have know?"

  13. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    42 Command Control Command Demand ...... Imaginative Supply Provision.

    "the defence budget - and probably the science budget too - are mainly there to assist British (well, partly British) business."

    Surely it would be more Profitable to Supply the InterNetional Community for Bigger Dam Busting Business ...... Lead Programs and Projects.

    With Anything Less is the Budget MisSpent and Appropriated/Rested in Dormant/Latent Accounts for Intellectual Property Managers and CyberIntelAIgents.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    LOL the British one is hysterical

  15. Eduard Coli

    To A. N. and others

    I think it's because Great Britain does not have a huge dole coming from the US to finance things like this. Maybe Britain should invest more into spying on the US as it seems to have helped a bit.

  16. WhatWasThat?

    Why are they even bothering with this?

    If the Brits (or US for that matter) want a true, loiter-capable weapons systems, they need to have a stealth material covered airship, approximately 50ft long and 20ft wide (at 5K ft). The interior would house a number of downward-facing drones/missles/maneurable bombs/whatever in a rack. The electronics would scan and respond to radar or other select band communications and direct commands to launch. Using ducted fan propulsion, the heat signature would be very low and this should be able to waif around at high altitude for much longer than any prop or jet based system. Additionally, it could/would be:

    1. Autonomous (its no longer cool to say "automatic") function or direct control.

    2. Deployable from air - pull the helium inflator cord and push it out the C-130.

    3. Deployable from ground - should fit (deflated) on the back of a Hummer like a medical module.

    4. As its an airship (zepplin) design, even a USAF/RAF pilot could fly it without crashing.

    Good lord, let's face it - I could build the frame and perform flight tests (even legally!) here in the Midwest US for less than $100,000 out of my basement. Seriously - I have experience with R/C and dirigible tech. Anyone want to give me a grant, seriously, and I will be happy to licence to BAe/MoD/DoD/etc. all day long. Patents pending on all this, of course.

  17. CC
    Thumb Down

    A one way turd

    This is one of the dumbest ideas yet to come out of the IAF, your going to fly it in (hope no body sees you), drop it off (hope nobody sees you), then loiter (hope nobody sees you) and hope they turn something on so you can go boom, otherwise you go boom and (nobody sees you) and you flush millions down the drain....just plain stupid Military thinking....again.

  18. BoldMan

    Look and Learn

    Yes I bought it when I was a nipper (my dad was the Chief Electrician in the printing works that printed all the Fleetway comics including Look & Learn, Lion, Valiant and later 200AD)

    Trigan Empire FTW!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Lego Missile

    The brit one looks like it is build from Lego .... does this mean afterward the small pop all the bits can be reassembled by grunts to make a tank

  20. Ian Michael Gumby

    Just borrow an AC 130 from the US...

    While having a drone circling above looking for a target, you might was well have a manned AC 130 doing the same thing. That 105mm gun is pretty damn accurate.

    Ok, but lets get back at to why these things exist....

    1) Taking out ECM,Radar, ground to air surveillance with an unmanned vehicle.

    2) 50 lbs isnt' a large bomb. Its enough for a precision air strike against a high value target that isn't inside a bunker.

    There's more... but I'll let others think about it. ;-)

  21. Desk Jockey
    Thumb Down

    Several Problems offhand...

    Several problems...

    Posted Friday 19th June 2009 17:29 GMT

    a) What else is Reaper for if not to loiter and drop things when needed?

    b) That is a very expensive precision guided weapon which would be horrendously expensive to replenish during a shooting war

    c) Buying overseas means you rely upon overseas contractors to support it. If the IAF dislike the UK at any point say goodbye to support hence you pay the UK contractor to guarantee supply and support, this costs lots of money and the Israeli government has done this for Harpy which is why they have probably paid more than the unit price it has been sold for.

    d) Good luck in persuading the UK tax payer that the UK government should support an Israeli arms manufacturer for equipment used to suppress the Palestinians!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Check your facts before publishing!

    Please be advised that the Israeli government is based in the Israeli capital of Jerusalem in the Knesset, not in the coastal city of Tel Aviv.

    Although many believe Tel Aviv to be the capital, and many countries have embassies and consulates there, Jerusalem is in fact the capital and has always been such.

  23. Mr Mark V Thomas

    Re: Check Your Facts Before Publishing !

    Try telling that to the Palestinians, who also claim Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, if ever a Palestinian state ever gets founded on the West Bank...

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