Drones

U.S. deploys the Switchblade Kamikaze Drone

U.S. deploys the Switchblade K...
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Being easily launched within a few minutes, the Switchblade will be invaluable for special operations forces.
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Being easily launched within a few minutes, the Switchblade will be invaluable for special operations forces.
The Switchblade offers some new and very useful capabilities.
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The Switchblade offers some new and very useful capabilities.
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U.S.Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are beginning initial deployment of the Switchblade unmanned aerial system (UAS). A product of AeroVironment, the aircraft is light enough to be man-packable, simple enough to be deployed in minutes and can fly off over the horizon sending back video. It can loiter and watch silently (it's electric) and is so small that it is very difficult to detect at night, even at close range.

It has one more feature - it carries a warhead, so if a target of opportunity presents itself, the Switchblade has imaging sensors capable of identifying, tracking and guiding itself right to just that person, with minimal collateral damage.

Being easily launched within a few minutes, the Switchblade will be invaluable for special operations forces.
Being easily launched within a few minutes, the Switchblade will be invaluable for special operations forces.

Denoted as being "expendable" rather than "disposable", the Switchblade is the first of a new breed of miniature kamikaze drones. As the system has very accurate tracking algorithms, the Switchblade is very good at locking onto and following targets, a capability that will no doubt be invaluable in the theaters of war in which they will be deployed. Small groups of soldiers will now have a much higher level of situational awareness plus the assistance of silent invisible birds of prey capable of striking from the darkness of night.

While the Switchblade will be the first such armed miniature UAS on the battlefield, its incredibly useful capabilities will almost certainly see similar weapons being manufactured around the world.

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12 comments
Lourie Höll
So how long can this baby stay in the air?
Grunchy
Looks like a really effective, low cost weapon. Sounds affordable even for near-bankrupt militias that the US is trying to fight...
Tw Tan
At daytime it could be saw by enemy. At night possible detect enemy though infra red. Low cost could means it possible emit infrared to enhance image recording. Silent is actually mean silent to human ear. Bomb is mean it no going to stay on air all the time and the enemy don\'t need to shoot like hell just to get it down. If the enemy don\'t get it in few second, it get to the enemy. Make sure this stuff don\'t drop to hand of terrorist and without explode, or no one will know How to protect their leader during public speech. from now on. It look not difficult to build, but to build this counter apparatus, it more difficult.
TogetherinParis
When it \"runs out of gas\" and \"goes dead\" or \"dud\" it only seems to \"power down\" so it can find the bomb maker, call in the heavies, and snuff him and all his colleagues simultaneously. No one will know, because it picks up chatter and replicates it to draw in higher leadership. Basically anyone who comes in contact with one of these, even if they \"capture the launch team\", is a dead man walking. And this is only a foretaste. American weapons are becoming so sneaky, so lethal, that fighting America is like fighting a flood, from beneath the flood while you\'re out of breath.
Alan Belardinelli
I\'ve been thinking that they would build this for years. Next: swarm tech.
John Comeau
great, as if the US government didn\'t already have enough dangerous toys. Obama was even joking about using such drones against members of a pop band. everybody should have these or nobody should; let\'s start an \"open drone project\".
Todd Dunning
Paris and John, since the thought of America protecting civilian populations against the Taliban is so distasteful to you, maybe you could just do it with unicorns and love.
GRich
Use swarm bots to take out other swarm bots. Additionally, you make these transparent via metamaterials or the like then watch out!
ModelT
Great idea for a new DARPA initiative, Todd.
Operation Unicorn, the \"Love Hurts\" initiative
Ten rounds with a herd of randy unicorns? ... that would be a very horny dilemma for the Taliban. I doubt half of them would survive the initial foreplay.
psychot11
They say \"if a potential target of opportunity presents itself\", but how do they get it back on the ground if they don\'t find anything? i don\'t see any landing gear. i wouldn\'t be too keen on crash-landing a drone with a warhead on it in the rough terrain in afghanistan if i were a soldier... maybe someone has to catch it like a wide receiver catches a football. except the football could explode if they drop it.