Switchblade: The US Army’s “Kamikaze” Drone
The US Army recently unveiled its new “kamikaze” drones named Switchblade.
Small enough to fit inside a soldier’s backpack, it helps transmit live video from overhead to identify and destroy enemy target.
The impressive robotic craft weighs less than 2kg and launches from a tube before its wings fold out as it flies into the air.
The operators can then send a message to the drone “to arm it and lock its trajectory onto the target”, its California-based manufacturer AeroVironment said.
Reports suggest that the drone flies into a target and detonates a small explosive, but can still be disarmed at the last moment even if it is heading for a kill.
The US Army is paying AeroVironment $4.9 million for the drones to help it develop a new way of killing suspected militants.
AeroVironment said it is this feature that makes its drones unique and gives “a level of control not available in other weapon systems”, the Daily Mail reports.
Larger Predator and Reaper drones are currently used by the US to find suspected militants in Pakistan and other countries, but they have led to political chaos in the past as civilian casualties can be caused when they drop powerful missiles and large bombs.
However, AeroVironment said that its Switchblade combines “onboard explosive payload with precision while minimizing collateral damage”.
“Switchblade provides a revolutionary rapid strike capability to protect our troops and give them a valuable new advantage,” the company spokesperson said.