MILAN – Greek state company Hellenic Defense Systems is gearing up for the local production of long-range loitering munitions by partnering with South Africa’s Paramount Group, a move aimed at strengthening the country’s indigenous manufacturing capabilities.
Dubbed IRIX, the system will be the first of its kind to be produced in Greece, which historically has not had a noteworthy domestic market for armed drones or loitering munitions. The country only announced its first locally built combat drone in January.
The Greek vendor, which goes by the acronym EAS, announced the signing of a strategic partnership with global aerospace firm Paramount for the new weapon at a defense industry conference in Athens this week.
The IRIX loitering munition is based on Paramount’s existing N-Raven unmanned aerial vehicle technology. The N-Raven, manufactured by subsidiary Paramount Aerospace Systems (PAS) headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, began production last month in Abu Dhabi with first deliveries set for October.
Speaking to Defense News at the International Defense Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in February, a Paramount representative said the system was designed specifically for quick transfers of technology in order to facilitate localization for customers.
That scenario is expected to play out in Greece with IRIX. The Greek company will also participate in ongoing research and development of future upgrades to be made on the platform.
The specific capabilities of the new loitering munition have yet to be disclosed. Paramount has described it as a cost-effective system capable of striking high-value targets deep within enemy territory as well as providing aerial reconnaissance.
Since its design is based on the N-Raven, the IRIX could have a loitering endurance between 2 and 4.5 hours, a range up to 100 kilometers and be able to carry more than 13 kilograms of payload.
PAS has also previously stated that a swarming version of the N-Raven is in advanced stages of development and expected to be industrialized in the second half of 2024. It remains unclear whether Greece plans on acquiring this capability.
Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.