Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR SEP 2016 Contents 19
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 24 | SEP 2016
Footage released on 9 August from fighting in Syria
appears to show air strikes carried out by Hezbollah drones,
most likely of the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) quad-
copter or multi-rotor type.
The footage purports to show the drones dropping cluster
munitions on stationary ground targets, although the evidence
is not conclusive.
The sub-munitions are believed to be the Chinese-made
MZD-2, also known as the Type 90, which Hezbollah has
probably cannibalised and repurposed. Hezbollah has
previously used the MZD-2 in rocket attacks against Israel
during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, with each of
the 118 Chinese Type 81 122mm cluster rockets fired by
Hezbollah containing 39 MZD-2 sub-munitions according to a
Human Rights Watch report.
Hezbollah configures drone
for bomb run
The US Army has awarded Raytheon a US$5.7 million
(AUD$7.48 million) risk-mitigation contract for the Long
Range Precision Fires (LRPF) program.
The LRPF initiative will see the development of a new
long-range strike missile to replace the Army’s legacy surface-
to-surface missiles (SSM), these being the long-range
(270km+) Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile
and the shorter range (70km+) Guided Multiple Launch
Rocket System (GMLRS) – both launched from the same
two air-transportable, ground mobile systems, one tracked
(MLRS), the other wheeled (High Mobility Artillery Rocket
Raytheon is designing the LRPF missile to integrate with
the in-service M270 MLRS and M142 HIMARS rocket
The new LRPF missile will have a higher flight speed and
greater range than ATACMS – around 500km. It will also be
more affordable and survivable against advanced threats and
more compact, allowing the Army to double the firepower per
launch vehicle by doubling the launch pod load-out.
Under the 9-month risk-reduction contract, Raytheon will
conduct baseline system design. The Army is expected
to solicit proposals for a more comprehensive technical
maturation/risk reduction phase in 2017, followed by flight
Raytheon is teamed with Orbital ATK for the LRPF program.
Lockheed Martin is also believed to be competing for LRPF
but had not yet received a similar contract at press time.
The LRPF capability could be in service by 2022. As DTR
reported in the April 2016 issue this timing may align with
the Australian Army’s own plans to introduce a mobile and
deployable long-range rocket system to provide precision
fires out to a range of 300km in support of deployed land
– Matthew Mendenhall
Raytheon long-range SSM progresses
ABOVE: Raytheon’s new LRPF missile will compete the US Army
requirement for a new long-range surface-to-surface missile.
ABOVE: It is likely Hezbollah
has modified a COTS drone to
drop Chinese-made MZD-2
sub-munitions (inset) on targets
©2016 Raytheon Company. All rights reserved. Approved for Public Release. DoD OPSR 16-S-1625. April 2016. AMW-4407470
LONG-RANGE PRECISION FIRES
The Iran-backed Lebanese militant
group may have taken the next step
in adopting COTS drones for
The Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) is pursuing development
of the X18 fire support vessel (FSV) concept with local
shipbuilder PT Lundin.
The X18 FSV is unique in integrating a land force weapon
system onto a small maritime platform, in this case a turreted
high-pressure Cockerill 105mm gun supplied by Belgian
company CMI Defence.
The concept behind the X18 FSV, or ‘tank boat’ as
translated literally, is to enable the TNI-AL to provide direct
fire support to land forces deployed ashore throughout
Indonesia’s vast island-choked archipelago, the vessel being
compact and manoeuvrable enough to also access estuarine
areas and rivers to penetrate inland. The craft is 18m long
with a 6.1m beam and its catamaran hullform well suited to
navigating shallow littoral waters. Images show a mid-size
rigid hull inflatable boat stowed on the rear deck.
Constructed principally of composites and with a crew of
four, the X18 FSV is also able to transport and disembark and
extract 20 troops via a bow ramp.
The CMI CT-CV 105HP turret has a two-man crew and a
Indonesia backs littoral fire support vessel
ABOVE: Renderings of the X18 fire support vessel being
developed for the Indonesian Navy. Images: PT Lundin
bustle-mounted autoloader to save weight and reduce crew
workload. The gun is able to fire all NATO-standard 105mm
ammunition natures and has an unusually high elevation of
42°, providing added capability to engage targets in complex
terrain with indirect fire out to 10km. It can also fire the
Cockerill Falarick 105 gun-launched anti-tank guided missile
(GLATGM). The GLATGM permits the engagement of
armoured and fortified targets at ranges in excess of 5km.
Saab is understood to be supplying a combat management
system and its Trackfire naval remote weapon system for
the X18 FSV, with the computer renderings provided here
showing it mounted atop the turret.
The propulsion system consists of twin MAN 1,200hp
diesel engines coupled to MJP450 waterjets. This grants
the X18 FSV a top speed of 40 knots and standard range of
350nm at 25 knots or 900nm at 9 knots.
– Mario Attopardi
The MZD-2 sub-munition is impact fused and resembles
a small cylindrical bell with a ribbon at one end. A band of
3mm steel balls wrap around the body of the cylinder as the
pre-formed fragmentation warhead, accompanied by a small
armour-piercing shaped charge warhead inside the body.
The size of the drone /s used in the attack is not revealed
in the video, but given that each MZD-2 sub-munition is likely
to weigh several hundred grams and it carries at least two,
the drone would require an available cargo payload of 2 or
3kg, including a customised MZD-2 carry rack and release
This payload range would suggest a drone with a maximum
take-off weight of at least 5kg and possibly as much as 10kg,
and an overall span of around 1m.
Given the drain the weight of the weaponised payload
would place on the onboard battery systems, flight time is
likely limited to 20-30 minutes and operating range around
2km, making such UAVs very much tactical assets.
It is unclear whether Hezbollah has developed the VTOL
drone in-house or made use of commercial-off-the-shelf
(COTS) technology. There are a significant number of COTS
drones with the type of performance features listed above.
– Staff Reporters
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