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Stray ammo

Loitering munitions, the "last word" in modern warfare

29 Feb, 2024

A special category of MEA is loitering munitions, the "last word" in modern warfare

In this day and age it is considered unthinkable for a modern army to conduct operations without making use of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) of all forms and missions. MEA, in English UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) or drones, are all kinds of flying vehicles that do not have an operator in their fuselage, but fly either autonomously or via remote control. The term UAV is generally used for medium and large MEAs (according to NATO Class II & III, weighing more than 150 kgr), while the term drone for smaller aircraft (NATO Class I, less than 150 kgr).

MEAs are divided into two main categories: Those with fixed wings, such as airplanes, and those with propellers, such as helicopters. MEAs are used in a number of missions, in peace and war, such as: ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance), information gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance and counter-intelligence. That is, for electromagnetic relaying, electromagnetic and telecommunications collection (ESM/ELINT and COMINT), conducting jamming (ECM), patrolling, surveillance of highly strategic installations, air defense suppression (SEAD) missions, electromagnetic relaying, target designation, electromagnetic collection broadcast and telecommunications (ESM/ELINT and COMINT), conducting jamming (ECM) and a host of other missions, proving their importance and usefulness.

A special category of MEA is loitering munitions, the "last word" in modern warfare. They are single-use weapons designed to find a target and destroy it. Once airborne, they can pursue a target with human intervention from a control station or by autonomous flight and command to hit designated targets or a combination thereof.

In his book "Army of None" Paul Sarr defines "roving munitions" as an autonomous weapon that can "seek, decide to engage, and engage targets on its own" without the need for human intervention. They are more "smart missiles" than aircraft. They are launched like man-portable anti-tank or anti-aircraft systems and allow small teams to discreetly deploy the weapon on the battlefield. They are very effective, cheap, worth a few tens of thousands of dollars, and destroy targets worth tens of millions, such as a chariot. It is literally a "game changer" in the field of operations, as it is in the war in Ukraine.

Recently, the Minister of National Defense emphasized the need for the Hellenic Armed Forces to acquire systems that change the shape of military operations such as mobile ammunition, various MEAs, and this is imperative and necessary. Very positive, that the Greek defense industry has already made great progress in this area. Today, all militaries include MEAs in their arsenal, and the global market is growing and from $13 billion in 2023 it is estimated to jump to $18,2 billion by 2028.



Ioannis Baltzois is a lieutenant general, M.Sc. of EKPA in Geopolitics, president of ELISME

photo https://www.spslandforces.com/ 


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