New Mobile Rocket-Launching System to Support Counter UAS Operations in Ukraine
The U.S. Navy will complete the delivery of a new rocket-launching counter unmanned aircraft system (CUAS) weapon system to Ukraine this month. The new platform, the Vehicle Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment (VAMPIRE) system, is a palletized rocket-launching platform that consists of a sensor ball and four-shot Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) launchers designed to mount to any truck with a flatbed.
APKWS launchers have traditionally been used by the Army and Navy against air-to-ground targets. The laser-guided VAMPIRE system is designed to defend against adversarial unmanned aircraft.
Deliveries of the new system began earlier this year, shortly after the contingency operations team for the Navy's Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242) began working on an urgent requirement to deliver rocket-launching counter UAS platforms to Ukraine.
“We delivered the first four systems in only six months by leveraging an innovative contracting strategy and working diligently to keep pace with the system’s rapid development,” said Cmdr. Kevin Raspet, PMA-242 foreign military sales deputy program manager.
PMA-242’s Contingency Operations Case Manager Robert Galan said the team had placed a heavy emphasis on speed to the warfighter and was able to explore several contracting authorities to streamline the process and focus on building and delivering an operationally effective system.
In coming weeks, the PMA-242 CO team also plans to deliver the first ever APKWS with proximity fuze warheads, a key enabling technology for the C-UAS mission, Galan said. The proximity fuze incorporates an RF sensor that enables APKWS to target Group 2 and Group 3 UAVs.
“Early reports indicate the weapon system is having an immediate impact in the ongoing Ukrainian wartime effort,” said Capt. Alex Dutko, PMA-242 Program Manager. “This activity is another example of our team responding to urgent requirements with unprecedented speed and agility.”
The Navy is under contract to deliver 14 new VAMPIRE systems to Ukraine's ground forces.