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First battle proven FPV drone made in NATO presented by German industry.

At the ILA 2024 fair, a young German company's booth, strategically placed near the Ukrainian stand, highlighted their significant product: the MAUS drone. As the first industrially produced FPV drone within NATO, the MAUS platform is fully modular, designed to be cost-effective, reliable, and easy to use, even for minimally trained operators.
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Maus UAV plateforme presented at ILA 2024 (Picture source: Army recognition)

The MAUS platform by Donaustahl GmbH is a highly versatile quadcopter designed to be quickly reconfigured for different types of missions, from observation and bombing to suicide missions.

Donaustahl GmbH, a German company, focuses on developing and manufacturing defense systems. Their product range includes loitering munitions, civil protection devices, and various explosive devices such as the trench cleaner and a munition carry kit that complements the MAUS platform. Their website also features systems for converting handguns into shoulder weapons and other modular systems suited for diverse operational needs.

The MAUS drone is designed as a user-friendly loitering munition, emphasizing simplicity in manufacturing, operation, and modification. It typically carries a payload up to 2.7 kg, sufficient to transport an RPG-type rocket with a slightly reduced range of about 7 km. Additionally, the drone is equipped with a high-resolution camera, enabling it to provide clear, real-time images of the battlefield.

The key point is the modularity and lifespan of the drone. The MAUS has a lifespan of 5-6 missions in bombing operations before ending in a suicide mission, having been converted into an "FPV" drone. The modularity is made extremely simple by a straightforward attachment system change, which is within the user's reach and does not require any real training.

Furthermore, the Maus does not have specific munitions in its FPV configurations; only the attachment support is adapted to the shape of the munition. For example, if a nation has a particularly large stock of old RPG rockets, the Maus can easily adapt to them. If the next client uses French-type LRAC rockets instead, it’s not a problem as the support can be created very quickly.

Today, this modular platform is being used with very positive feedback by Ukraine, to the extent that there are plans to integrate AI to make the drone relatively autonomous. Equipped with an electronic ignition system for the explosive, adapted by the detonator, it offers success rates superior to those of more artisanal drones previously in service.

This very inexpensive munition, costing less than €1000, industrializes FPV drones and helps to democratize a new form of warfare that is now gaining significant traction in combat in Ukraine. It is also influencing the employment doctrines of forces around the world.

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