Very few military-related fields are advancing as quickly as unmanned systems - Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) typically referred in mass media as "drones". Dedicated attack forms have also emerged under the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) classification and now Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has showcased a disposable attack UCAV with inherent surveillance features as part of its general design - the IAI "Harop" ("Harpy").
The Harop is a part-UAV, part-missile development in which the entire aircraft becomes an attack weapon upon spotting a target of opportunity. It is, in essence, a hunting missile driven by a ground-based pilot representative. In this fashion, the Harop is a complete "hunter-killer" UCAV system that can loiter in a given area, survey enemy movements, and hunt for critical targets. Communications and data (including video) are relayed to the ground control operator in real time as in other UAV platforms. Swooping in, Harop then becomes its own strike weapon to which the operator lowers the aircraft into a suspected/indentified enemy target with a primary payload being a 51lb warhead to maximize damage. The Harop is designed with an abort feature that will quickly allow the aircraft to break its engagement diving envelope if need be and return to its scouting role in short order. It is also not restricted to over-land attacks of stationary targets for it can be equally unleashed on moving, ocean-going targets over-water.
Externally, the Harop appears as a sort of science fiction fighter aircraft. Its bulbous nose assembly houses the warhead as well as the optics set under the chin. Canard foreplanes are also featured along the nose section. The fuselage is blended into the wing structure with swept leading edges seen on the primary wing sections. Wing extensions are fitted outboard of the twin vertical tail gins and these appear to sport a near-forward-swept look. A single, conventional engine is seated at the extreme rear-center of the design driving a two-bladed engine in a "pusher" configuration. The aircraft is launched from a prepared container and extends its outboard wing sections upon launch.
Characteristics include a length of 8 feet, 2 inches and wingspan of 9 feet, 10 inches. Range is said to be in the 1,000 kilometer range or up to six hours of flight time, providing a good reach or loitering window for the operator.
To date, the Harop has been exported to a handful of Asian countries though a Ukrainian sale was abandoned due to political pressure from Russia during its war with its neighbor and former Soviet client state.
Azerbaijan used Israeli Harop attack drones to good effect in its "Four Day War" against Armenia in 2016.
Azerbaijan; China; India; Israel; Kazakhstan; South Korea; Turkey; Uzbekistan
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
8.2 ft (2.50 m)
9.8 ft (3.00 m)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base IAI Harop (Harpy) production variant)
1 x Conventional engine driving a two-bladed propeller in a "pusher" configuration.
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