Norwegian aerospace firm Nammo is developing an autonomous anti-tank weapon system featuring the M72 light anti-armor weapon mounted on a small commercial drone.
The new weapon concept extends the reach and improves the versatility of the M72. Mounting the anti-tank weapon onto a drone will also bring it to its target “in a way not previously possible.”
Since the weapon features a combination of low weight and heavy firepower, its integration into a small drone could allow a “top attack” option against more heavily armored targets. It would also allow the penetration of enemy territory protected by tanks and other tactical vehicles.
Nammo vice president for shoulder-fired systems Quoc Bao Diep explained that although the rocket only has a range of about 350 meters (1,148 feet), the drone carrying it can reach targets three or four kilometers (1.8 to 2.4 miles) away.
He added that integrating the weapon into a drone allows operation without revealing the shooter’s position, reducing the risk of being targeted by enemy forces.
‘Anti-Tank Drone Swarm’
Nammo is planning to produce a significant number of drone-mounted M72s in a bid to create swarms for use in military operations that involve high-powered armored vehicles.
“With a degree of automation, the number of operators can be kept at a reasonable level, and the light anti-tank weapon/drone combination can likely operate in so-called swarms,” Diep said in a press release.
Military analyst Zak Kallenborn agrees that anti-tank drone swarms are more effective and well-suited in targeting and destroying mobile enemy targets like tanks. He told Forbes that the swarms could be operated with little to no human intervention due to its integrated sensors and autonomous system.
The company said it is now working to enhance the weapon’s communications system to enable the drone to be operated from 50 kilometers (31 miles) away. Nammo will also add more advanced sensors and control software to improve the weapon’s targeting capabilities.
Once the upgrade is complete, the weapon system will be ideal for long-range search-and-destroy missions.