German military supplier Rheinmetall has committed to supplying the LUNA NG next-generation, short-range reconnaissance unmanned aerial system (UAS) to Ukraine before the end of 2023.

LUNA NG has already accumulated several thousand hours of flying time. The order has cost the German Bundeswehr an undisclosed figure in the low-two-digit million-euro range.


The UAS comprises a ground control station and several LUNA drones. The system includes a launch catapult, optional net equipment for catching the drones when they land as well as equipment for rapid repair. The whole system is mounted on an HX truck, with the manufacturer having already provided 26 HX family vehicles to Ukraine since December last year.

LUNA NGs can remain aloft for over twelve hours and the system has a datalink range of up to 300km when fitted with optional StaCom equipment. It has a reconnaissance capability of several hundred kilometres.

GlobalData intelligence tells us that the global military unmanned aerial vehicle market was valued at $7.9bn in 2022 and will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.2% to reach a value of $12bn by 2032. The cumulative value of the global military UAS market is anticipated to be $109.9bn over the forecast period.

Ongoing German support for Ukraine

Ordered for Ukraine as part of an extensive military aid package initiated by the German government in July 2023, the Bundeswehr is currently introducing the LUNA NG under the name ‘Husar’.

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This follows the Bundeswehr’s recent announcement that it will provide other critical systems to aid Ukraine’s military needs, including two Patriot launchers for Ukraine’s air defence.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated: “Today, I want to give special thanks to several countries… First of all, Germany. Two additional Patriot launchers, it is very important.

“Every significant strengthening of our air defence means thousands of saved lives and a real approach to a full-fledged air shield for Ukraine. Every city, every village must be protected. This will become the basis of a pan-European air shield. When Russian terror loses in Ukraine, all of Europe will win.”

Likewise, the LUNA NG provides a more offensive objective with its next-generation reconnaissance capability in providing the Ukrainian Armed Forces with critical insight into the invading Russian forces.

Establishing a domestic defence industry in Ukraine

While weapon systems continue to flood into Ukraine, Zelenskyy’s defence ambitions go much further than the accumulation of these military donations.

“Ukraine also needs equipment from partners, and it is very crucial to create a production base in Ukraine so that we can clear our land of Russian mines – and this task should be completed not in decades, but in years.”