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Polish Warmate loitering munition defeats Russian Pantsir-S1 Shorad in Ukraine

On January 6, 2023, the Ukrainian armed forces released videos on their social media platforms showing the neutralization of two Russian Pantsir-S1 air defense systems using Polish-made Warmate loitering munitions. It appears that the Warmate loitering munitions have successfully overcome the electronic countermeasures of the Pantsir systems.
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Two Pantsir-S1 systems were disabled by Polish-made Warmate loitering munitions  (Picture source: Ukraine MoD and WB Group)

According to information disclosed by Ukrainian military intelligence, the Warmate loitering munitions, manufactured by the Polish WB Group, were used for precise strikes against Pantsir-S1 systems stationed in Belgorod, Russia. These systems, vital to Russian air defense, were in a state of maximum alert, with their radars active, at the time of the attack.

The footage captured by the Warmate sensors shows the critical moments before the impact. Although the connection with the operator was lost before the final strike - a common phenomenon due to the autonomous design of the munitions in their terminal engagement phase - the evidence suggests that the attacks were successful.

This success is all the more remarkable because the Warmate managed to overcome the electronic countermeasures of the Pantsir systems. The "No GPS Fix" message displayed on the operators' screens indicates that the munitions functioned effectively even in the absence of a GPS signal, a built-in capability to counter enemy electronic jamming tactics.

The impact of these strikes is significant: both Pantsir-S1 systems were disabled, dealing a severe blow to Russian defensive capabilities in the region. These systems, costing about 15 million dollars each, play a crucial role in protecting key infrastructure, including airbases and S-300/S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.

The Warmate loitering munition is 1 m long, has a wingspan of 1.4 m, and weighs 5 kg. It can be easily transported by a single soldier using a backpack. It features a pair of foldable main wings swept rearward, and a pair of vertical, V-shaped tail fins.

The Warmate can be used for reconnaissance in combat missions with different types of payloads or explosive warheads. It can be operated in less than five minutes, day or night. It has a range of 4 km in open terrain or 1 km in a forested area.

The WARMATE can function as a standalone system, easily transportable or carried by land forces or special operations units.

Its design allows for installation on various vehicles (such as cars and APCs), and integration of the Ground Control Station and Ground Data Terminal with the vehicle's onboard systems.

As an alternative to anti-tank guided missiles, the WARMATE offers a significantly larger operational radius, facilitating the comfortable detection and observation of potential targets over a substantial time frame (with a flight time of approximately 70 minutes).

The system can optionally be equipped with a laser-seeking warhead. In its combat configuration, the WARMATE serves as an expendable solution. In its observation mode, the UAV can be recovered and reused. The WARMATE operates fully autonomously, enabling real-time airborne warfare operations using video feeds from its surveillance subsystem.

The UAV comes with control modules that automate most flight phases and assist the operator during targeting. The operator retains complete control and is solely responsible for activating the ARMED mode to execute combat tasks.

The Warmate loitering munition, developed by the Polish WB Group, is rapidly gaining popularity in modern warfare due to its effectiveness and versatility. This weapon system has become a preferred solution for precision strikes, especially in asymmetric conflicts involving advanced air defenses. Currently, the Warmate is in service with several armed forces, notably the Polish and Ukrainian military, which have effectively employed it in recent operations. It has also attracted attention from NATO member states, highlighting its growing international reputation. The system's adoption by countries in the Middle East and its significant procurement by India in 2023 further underscores its status as a highly sought-after tactical weapon in global defense arsenals. The increasing use of the Warmate reflects a trend toward more autonomous and precise weaponry in contemporary military strategies.


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