German defense contractor Rheinmetall is set to provide Ukraine with advanced reconnaissance drones, according to a report by Bild newspaper. The Luna NG system, capable of carrying out reconnaissance missions and providing 4G wireless broadband, is expected to be delivered to Ukraine by the end of the year. These drones have a range of several hundred kilometers and can reach a maximum altitude of 5km.
The Luna NG system, developed by Rheinmetall, consists of a ground control station, a launching catapult, a truck, and several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The drones destined for Ukraine, however, do not have strike capabilities. Bild reported that future versions of the Luna NG will be capable of carrying ammunition.
The German government plans to commission similar drones for its own military once the rules of engagement for this type of weaponry are established. Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger stated in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine that a repair facility for Leopard 2 tanks and other German-made military equipment supplied to Ukraine will begin operation after this summer.
Rheinmetall announced earlier this year its intention to invest $200 million in a production and repair facility in Ukraine. However, Russian officials, including Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council, and Maria Zakharova, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, have warned that such facilities would become prime targets if Germany proceeds with its plans.
Despite these warnings, Papperger affirmed that Rheinmetall remains committed to supporting Ukraine and stated his confidence in the country’s military capabilities to defend against potential attacks on sensitive targets.
Bild also reported that Rheinmetall’s tank-manufacturing plant in Ukraine has the capacity to produce up to 400 units of hardware annually. The Dusseldorf-based defense contractor has seen an 18% increase in orders in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to Die Welt. Rheinmetall is anticipating double-digit sales growth in the coming years and plans to significantly ramp up production.
The delivery of the Luna NG reconnaissance drones to Ukraine represents a significant advancement in the country’s military capabilities. These state-of-the-art UAVs will enhance Ukraine’s ability to gather intelligence and monitor its borders. The assistance provided by Rheinmetall reflects Germany’s support for Ukraine’s defense efforts amidst the ongoing conflict in the region.