March, 4

    Pentagon awards $40M ‘Vampire’ contract for Ukraine’s drone defenses

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    WASHINGTON ― The Pentagon has awarded L3Harris Technologies a $40 million order to send Ukraine “Vampire” counter-drone systems by mid-year, the company announced Monday.

    L3Harris said it will install 14 kits onto vehicles the U.S. government provides Ukraine. Vampire, which stands for Vehicle Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment, consists of a laser-guided-missile launcher that can quickly be installed in a civilian truck bed.

    The kits are meant to allow Ukraine’s ground forces to strike ground targets as well as drones that Russia has been using to hit Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.

    READ MORE: Russia using new Su-57 jets against Ukraine

    L3Harris said the contract calls for the company to deliver four systems to the Defense Department by mid-2023 and 10 more by the end of 2023.

    The award, technically a purchase order, was part of a Navy prototype contract that pre-dated Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according a Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Cdr. Tim Gorman.

    The prototype, submitted to the Defense Department in April, was selected in August as part of a Pentagon’s $3 billion security assistance package under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. The company said it began field testing in 2021 and continued range and durability tests in summer 2022.

    READ MORE: Russia’s hypersonic Zircon missile-armed ship to patrol global seas

    The Vampire system includes a WESCAM MX-10 RSTA targeting sensor, and it uses an Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System rocket that can be combined with L3Harris’ proximity fuze.

    “We’ve invested in procurement, testing and certification since August so VAMPIRE production can begin without delay,” Luke Savoie, the company’s president of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance business unit, said in a press release.

    “We’re committed to supporting a U.S. strategic partner with a robust capability, as the people of Ukraine continue to defend their country and protect their independence.”

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