Israel Aerospace Industries has signed contracts with 3 NATO countries to supply the Rotem loitering munition system

June 22, 2023 Photo(s): By IAI
IAI's Rotem

Following the recent announcement that NATO member Estonia has purchased long-range loitering munitions from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the company has signed separate contracts with three additional NATO countries worth several millions of dollars to supply Rotem loitering munitions. Rotem is a unique combat-proven Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) tactical loitering munition, intended for use by customers' special forces and can also serve for test and evaluation purposes.

Rotem is part of IAI's family of loitering munitions which includes Harpy, Harop and Mini-Harpy, and has been proven in different combat situations since 2019.

Avi Elisha, MBT Missile Division VP and General Maneger: "This announcement follows the decision of another NATO member, Estonia, to purchase IAI's long-range loitering munitions. Acquisition of Rotem by three different NATO members reflects the high and growing global demand for tactical loitering munitions. IAI has extensive experience in loitering munitions, having invented this type of munition almost 40 years ago. Rotem's unique capabilities include Vertical Takeoff and Landing making it a perfect choice for close combat scenarios, including urban combat."

Rotem is effective up to a range of ten kilometers and was designed for deployment by an individual soldier at the infantry or small unit/special forces level. Its simple operation and robust design make it highly cost-effective.

IAI's loitering munitions have emerged as a disrupting new weapons category following many deployments in recent conflicts. This weapon has reshaped the battlefield and inflicted damage on a scale far beyond its physical size. As a result, armed forces worldwide are interested in the offensive and defensive aspects of this type of weapon as they realize the unique capabilities they enable.

Lightweight, compact, and affordable, Rotem is specially designed and proven to perform in urban warfare environments. It allows individual soldiers to gain an elevated view of the area around them, look over hills or within an urban environment and beyond the line of sight. The soldier can then strike the enemy as soon as targets appear.

Rotem carries both day and night electrooptical sensors to give tactical field units an advantage against adversaries, acting as a sensor and a weapon of opportunity. Unlike missiles or rockets, it can be launched to seek a target, but is disarmed if authorization to attack is not received. If this occurs, Rotem can fly back to be retrieved safely, have its battery replaced, and be deployed immediately on a new mission.

With a flight endurance of 30 minutes, or with an ability to loiter for up to nine hours, Rotem can hover above a high building or hill, with an open camera and datalink while waiting for the target to emerge. Once the target is detected Rotem can then attack instantly.