Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) pioneered the loitering munitions field with its development of the Harpy platform, as a method to overcome intelligence gaps on enemy activity. Later, the larger Harop platform was born. In recent years, IAI has continued to act as a trailblazer in the area, introducing several loitering platforms that serve the tactical level.

HAROP Standoff Loitering Munitions

Combat proven standoff loitering attack weapon system. Launch from canister. Survey and to strike immediately. Situational Awareness and Weapon - in one “package”. Detection, recognition, acquisition and attack of a wide range of high value target types

The HAROP is a standoff loitering attack weapon system designed to locate and precisely attack targets. The HAROP loitering missile type platform which serves as an Electro-Optically guided attack weapon. HAROP LMs are launched from ground-based launchers and controlled via a two-way data link for full man-in-the-loop operation.

HAROP is used to attack high-value targets, including full mission capabilities, from search, through attack and up to battle damage assessment. Combining characteristics of a missile and a UAV, HAROP enables effective mission execution without relying on other external systems for targeting and mission intelligence

The HAROP LMs are programmed before launch by the Ground Control Stations to autonomously fly to a pre-defined “Holding Area”, where they loiter. The Mission Communication System periodically checks their position and status during the route to the “Holding Area”. The MCS operator can thus control a number of HAROP LMs that loiter over a “Holding Area”, he can select one LM for target search and attack, while the others are monitored periodically. The operator directs the selected LM to the target area and uses the video image to select a target, and to attack it. The HAROP tracks the target and then dives on it, detonating the warhead upon impact. If required the attack can be aborted and the operator can re-attack with the same loitering munitions.

In September 2009, the Indian Air Force (IAF) purchased ten Harops from IAI under a $100m contract. Another proposal to acquire 54 Harop attack drones was approved by MoD. The Air Force already has an inventory of around 110 of these deadly drones which have now been renamed as P-4. 


Mini HARPY provides tactical forces with the ability to suppress the area of interest for long duration and to strike immediately emitting and non-emitting Targets.

The ability to seek and to attack any target from any direction at any angle, gives the Mini HARPY significant advantage in any environment. In addition, long-range communication, long-endurance of loitering time and a deadly warhead enables it to deal with diverse targets in the modern warfare.

The electrically-powered Mini Harpy, equipped with dual-homing capabilities - utilizing anti-radiation and electro-optical seekers.

Weighing 40 kilograms, the Mini Harpy is vehicle-lunched, like the Harop. With a broadened capability spectrum, Mini Harpy can utilize all sensors simultaneously. By employing the radiation-sensors, day, and night electro-optics sensors at the same time, Mini Harpy enables the user to cover broader areas, and look for targets more effectively, rather than searching for them through a straw. With the anti-radiation sensor cueing the camera on-board. The Mini Harpy carries a warhead with eight kilograms of explosives. It can strike targets within one-meter accuracy. Its operating range is 100 kilometres, enabling ground units to extend operations deeper into a hostile area or employ offensive weapons from far back if needed. The Indian Air Force operates the Harpy loitering munition.


India media reported in July 2020 that the Indian Army is looking to acquire a 'miniature' unmanned aerial vehicle from Israel's Rafael Advanced Defence Systems. Called ‘Maoz’ in Israeli Defence Force service, the SPIKE FIREFLY is basically a helicopter ‘suicide drone’ with two coaxial rotors, carrying a sensor payload and a warhead. Controlled from tablet-based console, the fully human-portable system can be quickly deployed in close infantry combat situations where visibility stands compromised. 

FIREFLYTM tactical weapon system is a revolutionary, innovative miniature electro-optical tactical loitering munition designed for light manoeuvring ground forces such as Infantry, Marines or Special Forces. The FIREFLY weapon system kit includes 3 LMs (Loitering Munitions) and a CU (Control Unit) based on a ruggedized tablet with a military standard bidirectional data link.

FIREFLY was designed for the dismounted soldier fighting within the urban arena where situation awareness is limited, the enemy is behind cover, and precision is critical. The impact of FIREFLY on the Infantry is revolutionary, fundamentally changing small Infantry tactics.

IREFLY – also known as SPIKE-FIREFLY – is a new variant of Rafael’s SPIKE Family Precision Guided Missiles. As such, FIREFLY features a dual seeker, target tracker, homing algorithms, computer vision, Safe & Arm fusing mechanisms, and HMI (Human-Machine Interface). These features served as a basis for the development of FIREFLY and the tailoring of the weapon system to its unique mission profile of urban combat. FIREFLY weighs only 3kg, is rapidly deployed, and enables the attack of Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) targets commonly found in urban combat. FIREFLY will essentially eliminate the value of cover and with it, the necessity of long-drawn-out firefights. It will also make obsolete the old infantry tactic of firing and manoeuvring to eliminate an enemy hiding behind cover.

ROTEM Light Multi-Rotor Platform

The ROTEM Aerial Vehicle (AV) is a tactical, loitering munition based on a light multi-rotor platform that delivers excellent capabilities against low signature enemy systems in complex environments. This lightweight and compact AV can be assembled in seconds and operated by a single soldier. The AV is capable of lethal precision strikes on stationary and mobile targets with abort/safe capability and is recoverable.

ROTEM is an extremely versatile platform. It can perform squad-level ISR and attack missions with minimal planning and operational focus from the operator. The backpacked system is a tactical kit of two AVs with all peripherals to allow an operational unit to use it organically as a part of their standard gear. The exceptional capability to hover allows the VTOL platform to see targets and engage within seconds, which makes the ROTEM a game-changer for its operators.

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