Fight Russian Drones, US sends VAMPIRE Rocket Launcher to Ukraine

Fight Russian Drones, US sends VAMPIRE Rocket Launcher to Ukraine
US sends VAMPIRE Rocket Launcher to Ukraine

Washington - Ukrainian troops will soon be able to turn regular pickup trucks and other vehicles into mobile rocket launchers capable of destroying Russian drones thanks to a new item in the latest United States arms aid package.

The VAMPIRE rocket launcher from weapons manufacturer L3Harris is included in the $3 billion US aid package to Ukraine announced by the Biden administration on Wednesday. The package, the largest to date, also includes artillery support and air defense, among other systems.

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According to the manufacturer, the Vehicle-Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment (VAMPIRE) rocket launcher includes a "luggage-type" weapon system, laser-guided that can be easily loaded into truck cargo and mounted by two crew members. This weapon is effective against ground and air targets. Defense News reported, citing remarks Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl made at a press conference, in Ukraine, the system is likely to serve as a counter to unmanned aerial systems. This (system) is basically a kinetic system that uses small missiles to shoot UAVs from the sky.

The use of this system, known as the Advanced Precision Killing Weapon System, will reduce the time Ukrainian forces spend locking on potential targets, adding a highly mobile and rapidly deployable option to the front line.

L3Harris spokesman Paul Swiergosz told Insider that the company expects in the coming days to receive an official order from the US government detailing how many units it will ship to Ukraine. The company expects to be able to deliver the system within nine months.

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To date, the US has provided Stinger missiles that can be fired by one person on the ground, but that supply is running low. The VAMPIRE missile system is sort of an upgrade. Its four-barrel rocket launcher allows Ukrainian forces to strike multiple targets without reloading, and the ability to mount the weapon on a vehicle gives operators the ability to cover a wider area more quickly than troops on the ground with shoulder-launched missiles.

Russia has used drones extensively since invading its neighbor in February, using them for surveillance missions that allow future artillery strikes against Ukrainian forces. Ukraine previously alleged that Russian UAVs found, including the Orlan-10 reconnaissance drone, had incorporated technology from Western countries, despite global sanctions.

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