Parasailing drone designed to be shot from a grenade launcher
If you're a soldier who's using a drone for reconnaissance, you doubtless want to get that aircraft in the air and over its target as fast as possible. A proposed new system was designed with that in mind, as it involves shooting a drone out of a grenade launcher.
Known as the Grenade Launched Unmanned Aerial System (GLUAS), the setup was envisioned by US Army Research Laboratory inventors Hao Kang and John Gerdes. A patent application for the technology was made public last Thursday.
The drone itself is folded down and stuffed inside a capsule-like housing, which the user fires up into the air – toward the target area – from a 40-mm grenade launcher. Upon reaching a given altitude, the housing opens up and falls away, releasing the drone from within.
An onboard battery provides power to an electric motor, which in turn spins up a rear propeller once the aircraft has "popped open" (the prop's individual blades fold down for stowage). Lift is provided by a parachute-style paraglider wing, while two hinged stub wings fold out at a predetermined airspeed to act as control surfaces.
Plans call for the GLUAS to be remotely-controlled from the ground, transmitting real-time video to its user from an onboard camera. It should theoretically have a 2-km range (1.2 miles), a ceiling of 2,000 ft (610 m), and battery life ranging anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.
There's currently no word on whether or not a functioning prototype has been built. That said, it's certainly not that far-fetched of an idea, as there are already folding military drones that are launched out of tubes at sea.
And if troops do one day find themselves being buzzed by an enemy GLUAS, they could conceivably remedy the situation using a somewhat similar technology that we heard about last year – a drone-netting grenade.
Source: US Army Techlink