The Polish Army has fielded its newest loitering munition, the Warmate “kamikaze” or suicide drone, purchased by the Polish Ministry of Defense at the end of 2017.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has passed all necessary tests and certifications and is now ready for deployment by regular forces as well as Territorial Defence Forces (WOT), the country’s fifth military branch following Land Forces, Air Force, Navy, and Special Forces.
Manufactured by Polish company WB Electronics, the Warmate is a small attack UAV. In November 2017, the company received a 100 million Polish zloty ($20 million) contract to deliver 1,000 of these drones to assist the armed forces in close combat encounters. The first batch of these UAVs arrived in 2018 for testing and evaluation.
In a statement to Defence24.pl, WOT spokesperson Colonel Marek Pietrzak confirmed that the Chief of General Staff of the Polish Army, Lieutenant General Rajmund Andrzejczak, had approved the use of the Warmate operationally in January 2021.
Warmate Design and Features
Like typical suicide drones, the Warmate is difficult to detect and combat as it effectively scans the battlefield, detecting and identifying targets. Targets may also be destroyed utilizing an onboard warhead.
At 1 meter long (39 inches) with a wingspan of 1.4 meters (55 inches), the Warmate only weighs 5 kilograms (11 pounds). Owing to its flexible design, it fits well into transport cases or backpacks. The UAV also comes with a pair of foldable main wings swept rearward, and a pair of vertical, V-shaped tail fins.
The suicide drone combines the advantages of a drone and a bomb and can hover in the air for nearly an hour before attacking a target. It can be controlled from military vehicle platforms such as armored personnel carriers by a single operator.
The vehicle performs both combat and reconnaissance roles and is deployed from a pneumatic launcher. This dual-purpose, micro air vehicle can carry payloads and explosive warheads, prepare for takeoff within less than five minutes, and is capable of operating day or night.
In addition to Poland, which purchased the Warmate due to the increasing threat of conflict with Russia, the UAV has also been tested by Turkey and Ukraine. WB Electronics has also revealed that the Warmate continues to undergo further development.