On the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, the United States is reinforcing its long-term commitment to the nation with $2.98 billion to train and equip the Ukrainian armed forces for their struggle against the Russian invasion. President Joe Biden said the people of the world have been awed and inspired by Ukrainian resistance and pledged the United States will stand with the people of Ukraine as they fight to defend their sovereignty. The Pentagon will buy newly announced air defense systems, counter-drone systems, radars, artillery systems and munitions from industry over months and years with Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding and apart from billions in equipment it has sent Ukraine from its stockpiles.
The package, which marks the single largest tranche since Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine six months ago includes six more of the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), Puma and ScanEagle drones. Also included are Vampire counter-unmanned aerial systems. L3Harris’ Vehicle-Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment (VAMPIRE) is a portable kit that can be installed on most vehicles with a cargo bed for the launching of the advanced precision kill weapons system (APKWS) or other laser-guided munitions. The Vampire is a kinetic system that uses a small missile, essentially, to shoot UAVs out of the sky. This L3Harris suitcase-type APKWS launcher and designator kit provides a rapid solution for arming non-tactical vehicles (NTV).
The AGR-20 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) is a design conversion of Hydra 70 unguided rockets with a laser guidance kit to turn them into precision-guided munitions (PGMs). APKWS is approximately one-third the cost and one-third the weight of the current inventory of laser-guided weapons have a lower yield more suitable for avoiding collateral damage and takes one-quarter of the time for ordnance personnel to load and unload. The APKWS II uses the Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker (DASALS) technology. This system allows a laser seeker to be located on the leading edge of each of the forward control canards, working in unison as if they were a single seeker.
The APKWS configuration allows existing warheads from the Hydra 70 system to be used without the need for a laser seeker in the missile nose. An APKWS-equipped rocket was fitted with a proximity fuze and destroyed a Class 2 UAS. The proximity fuze enables it to intercept UAS at a lower cost than other methods, and due to the rocket’s laser guidance that activates on launch, it does not require locking on to the target before launch. VAMPIRE is designed to complement the low-cost, low-signature, and availability of common NTVs and fit in any pickup or vehicle with a cargo bed. Installation can be completed in approximately two hours by two people using common tools. The power supply eliminates the need for a 24-volt alternator on the vehicle.