The German Bundeswehr has awarded Rheinmetall a contract to provide the new LUNA NG air-supported reconnaissance drone.
An amendment contract was signed on 28 September by Annette Lehnigk-Emden, President of Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), to continue the project with Rheinmetall after the original system manufacturer went into insolvency. The amendment contract affirms the measures resulting from Rheinmetall’s takeover of the procurement contract, which was finalized in 2022.
The LUNA NG, which stands for “Air-supported Unmanned Short-range Reconnaissance Equipment, Next Generation” in German, will be known as HUSAR in the German armed forces. Twelve production systems and a pilot system have been ordered, worth approximately €200 million (excluding value-added tax).
The first production system is set to be delivered in the second quarter of 2025 and will come with a spare parts package and training support. HUSAR will be assigned to the German Army’s reconnaissance branch as well as the artillery.
Each system includes five reconnaissance drones, two ground control systems, two launcher vehicles, two antenna masts, a repair shop, and three transport platforms. Real-time reconnaissance results at the operational level have been shown to be crucial based on experience gained in the war in Ukraine.
The LUNA NG was developed for this exact purpose and is one of the world’s newest systems for unmanned air-supported reconnaissance, classification, and recognition of objects in real time.
It is unique in its weight class, with a maximum take-off weight of 110 kilograms, and has outstanding performance parameters and type certification by Germany’s Federal Aviation Office. With its ultralight, high-stability design, the LUNA NG can remain airborne for over 12 hours.
The new contract marks an important milestone for the UAV as well as for Rheinmetall’s digitalization strategy. LUNA NG is a state-of-the-art sensor component for network-enabled operations that significantly enhances the effectiveness of the sensor-to-shooter chain.
It also provides a basis for future development of the Rheinmetall product portfolio, including a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability and new tactical possibilities with a payload capacity of over 30 kilograms.