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Lethal miniature aerial munition systems (LMAMS), also referred to as “kamikaze” drones, have been in existence for decades. It is generally believed that the first LMAMS were developed and used by the Israeli Defense Forces in an anti-radiation role starting in the 1980s. Considered the first purpose-built loitering munition, Israeli Aerospace Industries’ Harpy combined a drone with an anti-radiation missile, which required a rather large drone platform. Since the concept was introduced, LMAMS have evolved into much smaller form factors with integrated weapons payloads.
Loitering munitions provide small unit leaders with a more precise alternative to guided artillery. They are also cheaper, in most cases, than missiles and rockets used for tactical air-to-ground or ground-to-ground engagements. LMAMS are man-packable and utilize electro-optical/infrared and other sensors making them very flexible and very accurate.
The LMAMS market is entering a growth phase. Frost & Sullivan anticipates that demand will continue to grow significantly over the next several years. While relatively few defense contractors supply LMAMS to militaries, that number is expected to increase as the requirement for tactical weapons for small group operations grows.
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