Situation in Ukraine

United States to provide VAMPIRE rocket system to Ukraine

by Sputnik Globe

Aside from loitering munitions such as Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade, the latest pledge by the US to purchase hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of arms for Ukrainian militants is expected to include the VAMPIRE, a weapon system that can supposedly help Kiev regime forces deal with Russian drones.

What is the VAMPIRE Rocket System?

The Vehicle Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment (or VAMPIRE for short) is essentially a portable kit capable of firing 70mm laser-guided rockets such as, for example, the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS).
The system is comprised of a four-round rocket launcher integrated with a WESCAM MX-10™ RSTA independent stabilized sighting system, which can be mounted on a vehicle with a cargo bed, a pickup truck or installed in a fixed position.
While VAMPIRE’s manufacturer touts their creation as capable of targeting and shooting down enemy drones, they also claim that this weapon system can “defend against adversary ground threats as well,” which seems to suggest that it can be used against land-based targets.

Who Makes the VAMPIRE system?

The Vehicle Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment is made by a US defense contractor called L3Harris Technologies.

How Much Does a VAMPIRE Cost?

L3Harris announced in January that the US Department of Defense awarded them a $40 million contract to deliver 14 VAMPIRE weapon systems for Kiev forces.
The company also boasts that the APKWS rockets – essentially the 70mm unguided Hydra rockets converted into laser-guided munitions – the VAMPIRE can use are also relatively low-cost, being priced at about $27,500 apiece.

What is the Range of the VAMPIRE Rocket System?

According to Russian military expert Yury Knutov, VAMPIREs can engage airborne targets at a range of about five kilometers.

How VAMPIREs May Be Used in Ukraine

He pointed out, however, that the effectiveness of this weapon – which essentially uses old air-to-ground rockets converted into laser-guided ground-to-air rockets – against aerial targets other than UAVs appears questionable.

“I suppose they might try to use them against the Lancets,” Knutov said, referring to the Lancet-3 loitering munitions employed by the Russian military. “But the Lancets are so maneuverable that they often get mistaken for birds on screen. So I doubt that a VAMPIRE’s targeting system would be able to track a Lancet. Now against the aircraft-type drones that fly practically straight and do not maneuver such weapon system may be effective.”

Knutov pointed out that a VAMPIRE weapon system is very vulnerable to artillery and even to small arms fire, so deploying one on the battlefield would likely result in its swift destruction.
Deploying such weapons far from the frontline in order to protect targets in the rear from aircraft-type drones might be effective, in theory, but seeing how such drones can be shot down by much less sophisticated weapons – like ZU-23 anti-aircraft autocannons, for example – VAMPIREs are unlikely to become some sort of a game-changer for Kiev.
“Comprehensive use of various drones and tactics will allow us to bypass these systems,” he suggested.
Even though it remains to be seen exactly how effective VAMPIREs turn out to be, Knutov noted that the weapon system’s optical electronic targeting system that relies on laser guidance likely does not perform well under adverse weather conditions such as rain and fog.
Sputnik Globe
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