Rheinmetall is set to deliver its LUNA NG reconnaissance drone system to Ukraine, the German manufacturer announced on August 14, 2023.
The deal, valued in the low double-digit million-euro range, will see Rheinmetall supply Ukraine with the LUNA NG system, encompassing multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) alongside a ground control station, launch catapult, safety net equipment for landing, and rapid repair capabilities.
The delivery is scheduled for late 2023, as part of a comprehensive aid package announced by the German federal government earlier in the year.
The LUNA NG drone, an evolution of the LUNA X-2000 used by the German army (Bundeswehr) since the 2000s, features a new aerodynamic and lightweight design. It can carry up to 30 kilograms of payload, with a total weight of 110 kilograms. The drone’s wingspan measures 5.3 meters. It can achieve a maximum speed of approximately 150 kilometers (about 95 miles) per hour. Additionally, it has a transmission range exceeding 100 kilometers (about 60 miles), can operate autonomously for over 12 hours, and reach an altitude ceiling of 5,000 meters (approximately 16,000 feet).
Ukraine’s current conflict highlighted the significance of real-time reconnaissance data provided by drones in shaping the course of military operations. While the current LUNA NG system being delivered to Ukraine is not armed, Rheinmetall plans to develop a weaponized variant.