What Is VAMPIRE? U.S. Gives Ukraine Weapons System for Shooting Down Drones

The United States revealed it will be sending a counter-unmanned aerial system known as the VAMPIRE to Ukraine as part of its latest military aid package.

On August 24, Ukraine's Independence Day, the Pentagon announced that it will be supplying the country with nearly $3 billion in equipment and ammunition as it fights the Russian invasion.

Among the biggest tranche of security assistance for Ukraine that the U.S has sent to date includes an unspecified number of counter-drone systems called Vehicle-Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment, or VAMPIRE, a spokesperson for L3 Harris, a technology company and defense contractor, confirmed to Newsweek.

A fact sheet on L3Harris' website describes VAMPIRE as a modular system that provides "precision strike capability," such as ground-to-air laser-guided munitions.

VAMPIRE system ukraine
The VAMPIRE counter-unmanned aerial systems (seen above) are produced by L3Harris and included in the latest batch of U.S. military equipment being sent to Ukraine. L3Harris

As well as being able to target drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles, VAMPIRE is designed to engage a variety of targets, including being used in a ground-to-ground role.

Much like the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), which the U.S. has also sent to Ukraine, VAMPIRE can be fitted onto non-tactical vehicles such as pick-up trucks.

L3 Harris said that they have "supported the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense for several years."

"From the outset of the current conflict, our advanced tactical radios and robust SATCOM terminals enabled Ukrainian warfighters to communicate crucial information, while our night-vision and electro-optical capabilities allowed the Ukrainian military to track enemy forces and better plan both broad strategies and tactical responses," the spokesperson said.

"Our VAMPIRE system provides the Ukrainian armed forces with even more robust capabilities as they continue to defend their country and democracy in Europe, and we will continue to offer our steadfast support to their mission."

During a press briefing on Wednesday, Dr. Colin Kahl, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, confirmed VAMPIRE to be a counter UAV system, which will be used amid the war in Ukraine.

"It is a kinetic system, it uses small missiles, essentially, to shoot UAVs out of the sky," Kahl said.

The latest injection of military aid now means the U.S. has now sent more than $13.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since January 2021. As well as VAMPIRE, the latest $3 billion package will also include:

  • Six additional National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) with additional munitions for NASAMS
  • Up to 245,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition
  • Up to 65,000 rounds of 120mm mortar ammunition
  • Up to 24 counter-artillery radars
  • Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and support equipment for Scan Eagle UAS systems
  • Laser-guided rocket systems
  • Funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment

In a statement on Wednesday, President Joe Biden said the military aid will allow Ukraine to "acquire air defense systems, artillery systems and munitions, counter-unmanned aerial systems, and radars to ensure it can continue to defend itself over the long term."