The Army has added to its fleet of drones with a batch of portable robotic devices that hold a high-explosive warhead and a camera, allowing battlefield soldiers to detonate them wherever they’d like.The new Switchblade drone made by AeroVironment is just two feet long, fits in a backpack, and is launched from a tube by an operator that guides the plane through a handheld viewer.
One of the benefits of the new device will be to reduce collateral damage involved when calling in airstrikes or artillery fire.
The Switchblade’s precision detonation system allows the controller to detonate at any distance from the target and to even deactivate the explosive before impact.
Able to operate autonomously or by controller, the drone has an electric motor than can be switched off at final approach for a completely silent strike.
Brookings points out that while the U.S. has a monopoly on the new “agile munition systems” or “suicide drones” that edge can’t last and imitators will inevitably follow.
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