Roadrunner-M drone can take out aerial threats or live to fly another day
In the spirit of waste not, want not, Anduril Industries has rolled out its Roadrunner-Munition (Roadrunner-M) jet-propelled VTOL autonomous interceptor drone that can destroy aerial threats or return to base intact to fight another day.
In recent years, military drones have been used in an increasingly wide range of missions, but ones capable of taking on hostile aircraft and other aerial threats have been a bit thin on the ground. This means that anti-aircraft systems must rely on expensive missiles that end up being destroyed even if the target turns out to be benign and the attack is aborted.
The result of two-years of development, the Roadrunner-M is the high-explosive interceptor variant of Anduril's basic Roadrunner platform, which was unveiled at the same time. The customizable drone is powered by twin jet engines and comes in a protective locker that also acts as a launcher. In addition, it was a modular design that allows for payloads to be swapped out to suit particular mission goals.
According to the company, the Roadrunner-M can fly at high subsonic speed, though details like specific speed, range, and payload weight haven't been released. However, it does say that the drone has three times the warhead payload, is three times more maneuverable under g forces, and has 10 times the one-way range of comparable craft.
The Roadrunner- M is designed to counter a wide range of drones and other aircraft, zeroing in using its autonomous flight systems and destroying them with its high-explosive warhead. It can also take off, follow, and intercept distant targets while sending back sensor data to its command center.
If the threat proves to be non-existent, the Roadrunner-M can return to base or another pre-designated location intact for another mission. This helps to reduce costs and allows for multiple Roadrunners to engage a target using its standard AI software or when integrated into existing command and control systems..
No price for the Roadrunner-M has been released, though it's estimated to be somewhere in the low hundreds of thousands of dollars per unit.
The video below shows the Roadrunner-M in action.