Raphael's Firefly drone set for use by US Army

The drone was tested at the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment, which wrapped up last month at Fort Benning together with soldiers from the British Army

Raphael's Firefly drone set for use by US Army

Photo: RAFAEL website

The US army is considering using a new drone, the Israeli Rafael's Spike-Firefly. The drone was among those tested at the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment, which wrapped up last month at Fort Benning in Georgia. Breakingdefense.com website reports that the Army is now analyzing the drone’s performance and is expected to decide soon on whether it will buy in.

It seems that the US Army is not the only one interested in this drone. Raphael's announcement indicates that soldiers from the British Army's Household Cavalry Regiment also took part in the drone's assessment at Fort Benning and according to a senior British officer the British Army can certainly imagine scenarios where the Firefly And other robotic solutions can save lives.

According to Gal Papier, vice president of business development at Rafael USA, during the assessment over a two-day period, seven infantry squads were qualified in operation of the weapon system using inert rounds and an embedded trainer (simulation of operation as part of the Firefly control unit). After training, the Firefly was used in urban area exercises. As part of the assessment, the operators fired an inert firefly munition at a simulated enemy sniper position in an upper floor of a structure.

The drone, which maker Rafael calls a “miniature electro-optical tactical loitering munition,” is standing about 16 inches tall and weighing less than 5 pounds. The tube-shaped Firefly takes off vertically with coaxial rotor blades and can carry 350-gram warheads.

The munition includes an advanced multispectral seeker with both uncooled IR sensor, high-definition CMOS day sensor as well as a proximity sensor allowing the system to detect, identify, track and home on very agile targets, Rafael says. The drone can be used by a single operator, and its interface is designed to be as simple as possible to cut down on cognitive load.

The website notes that the Israeli military already uses the Firefly, after reportedly acquiring the weapon in May 2020. Sources said that the IDF has used it in operations against terrorists firing at IDF soldiers from buildings.

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