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Missile-launching vans

NewsMissile-launching vans

U.S. sends Vampire systems capable of converting simple vans into missile launchers to Ukraine

The U.S., pouring into Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion, continues to send millions of dollars worth of military hardware. The latest package sent to Kyiv includes the Vampire portable rocket system, capable of converting vans into mobile weapons platforms and missile launchers.

Among the weapons sent so far, Washington has been providing Stinger missiles, capable of being fired by a single person on the ground, but that supply has been running low as the war has progressed, leaving Ukraine out of stock. The aid package to Ukraine approved by the Biden administration in the last week is the largest to date. In addition to this system, it also includes artillery and air defense support, among others.

Vampire (Vehicle-Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment), from U.S. manufacturer L3Harris, is a system that uses small missiles.

According to the company, it can be assembled in just a few hours, using standard tools. It even requires only one person to operate it. The U.S. system shipped combines a four-tube rocket launcher, a ball of electro-optical/infrared sensors on a telescopic mast and a fire control tablet. In addition, it can operate with advanced precision-guided weapons missiles (APKWS) or other laser-guided munitions.

These missiles are capable of engaging fixed and moving targets at ranges of five kilometers, although they could reach eleven, their maximum, depending on the speed and altitude of where it is mounted. In the case of a van, since it does not offer high altitude or speed, the range could range from half a kilometer to almost two kilometers.

It is a low-cost, rapidly deployable weapon system that offers ground forces the ability to quickly and accurately engage targets on the ground or in the air, according to L3Harris, in its press release.

Vampire does not have to rely on a vehicle’s electrical system as it uses an integrated battery. It could certainly be a useful tool employed by Ukraine and against Russian troops. The ability to position the system would make Russian attacks more difficult, while it could offer multiple alternatives for distributing Ukrainian fire.

After six months of conflict, the summary of the war between Russia and Ukraine is that Russian troops have occupied 20% of Ukrainian territory, focusing on the Donbas region and the south and east of the country, with thousands of deaths, destroyed buildings and a conflict that does not seem to cease.

NATO countries are getting closer and closer to Ukraine, while Russia finds allies such as Iran, at “war” with the West over the nuclear agreement and which has already sent hundreds of drones to Moscow.

A dangerous and effective weapon, although Russian troops have not made much use of them. The US reveals that the drones that Moscow bought from Iran are suffering from “numerous technical failures”, and in addition, many are shot down by Kyiv in combat.


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