Western analysts and officials say the U.S. is struggling to quickly deploy sufficient equipment for Ukraine to effectively counter the threat posed by the Iran-built Shahed-136 drone that Russia has fielded to attack civilian infrastructure, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The U.S. Department of Defense awarded a contract to L3Harris Technologies to supply 14 Vehicle Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment to help Ukraine ground forces fight hostile drones.
According to the report, the first four VAMPIRE units are set to be delivered to Ukraine by mid-2023 and the rest will be ready by the end of the year, highlighting the challenge of supplying enough technologies to the Eastern European country.
Richard Ast, director of unmanned systems technology at DOD’s research and engineering directorate, said at a conference in December that his office was turning to industry to help develop platforms that could counter unmanned systems, particularly autonomous drones being fielded in large numbers.
Companies such as the Netherlands-based Robin Radar Systems and Utah-based Fortem Technologies are reportedly developing their capabilities so that they may counter Iran-made drones as the Russia-Ukraine war approaches its first anniversary.
Bill Haraka, vice president of defense and security at Robin Radar, said the company is working to improve the capability of its sensors to detect Shahed-136 and other larger drones.
Fortem CEO Jon Gruen also revealed that the company has made improvements to its DroneHunter system to help address the threat posed by Iranian drones.