Skip to comments.U.S. Army orders its first batch of suicide drones (What CIA needed in Benghazi?)
Posted on 11/04/2012 9:36:45 AM PST by Seizethecarp
Soldiers who fly hand-launched drone scouts to spot enemies on the battlefield may soon get a deadly robotic device capable of also delivering a knockout blow. The U.S. Army has ordered its first batch of small suicide drones that are capable of launching from a small tube, loitering in the sky and then diving at a target upon command.
The backpack-size "Switchblade" drone and its launch tube give individual soldiers a new level of precise control over an explosive weapon. Rather than calling in supporting artillery fire or airstrikes, soldiers can simply launch the Switchblade from out of sight, confirm a target on a live video feed from the drone, and then command the robotic device to arm itself and fly into the target at high speed.
"The unique capabilities provided by the Switchblade agile munition for standoff engagement, accuracy and controlled effects make it an ideal weapon for today's fight and for U.S. military forces of the future," said Bill Nichols, deputy product director at the Army's Close Combat Weapons Systems project office.
Operators can even call off strikes at the last second after arming the Switchblade. That kind of control allows soldiers to retarget in case an enemy moves out of sight, or avoid collateral damage if a civilian wanders too close.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
The Switchblade is assembled in Simi Valley by AeroVironment Inc., the Pentagon’s top supplier of small drones, which include the Raven, Wasp and Puma. More than 50 Switchblades will be sent to the war zone in Afghanistan this summer under a $10.1-million contract, which also includes the cost of repairs, spare parts, training and other expenses. Officials would not provide details about where the weapons would be used, how many were ordered and precisely when they would be deployed.
AeroVironment, based in Monrovia, developed the weapon on its own, thinking the military could use a lethal drone that could be made cheaply and deployed quickly by soldiers in the field, said company spokesman Steven Gitlin.
Switchblade already tested in combat by spec ops:
“It’s not inexpensive to task an Apache helicopter or F-16 fighter jet from a base to take out an [improvised explosive device] team when you consider fuel, people, logistics support, etc.,” he said.
About a dozen Switchblades were tested last year by special operations units in Afghanistan, according to Army officials, who said the drone proved effective.
Sorry if I sounded Snarky about cruise missiles.
There’s always the problem of letting our enemies get hold of one of these and saving themselves the cost of engineering one. The point has been made that the Predator drone (if that’s what it was) is too expensive to crash into light Infantry. The point was also made that it was more useful serving as a guide for the Americans to avoid ambushes on their way to the Benghazi airport. This brings to the fore the old “How much is a life worth?” argument. I would crash the drone to save lives, but that’s a call decided by one’s own conscience. As for the drone being more useful to guiding the Americans out, I was taught “Danger Close!” You deal with what can kill you right away and then the next closest threat and so on. I’m pretty sure those two dead former SEALs would have filled out an allotment for $25 a month for life to pay for a drone to crash into that mortar site so they could still be alive for their families.
Several episodes of the old TV program, “Man From Uncle” used dynamite strapped to remote controlled model airplanes as weapons.
want to see it work? http://www.businessinsider.com/switchblade-suicide-drone-2011-10
Ah, yes, the Snark-infested waters off Cape Canaveral. A lot of them didn’t get very far post launch.
Don’t forget all the IRBRMs in the Banana River...
A mini biplane launched from a rail, maybe 1/4 size or so. Engine had a counter to drop the ordnance.
When the Army found out the Navy was developing such a weapon, they hired inventor Charles Kettering to develop one for the Army.
I think the war ending before the projects were proved, and Kettering went on to run GM.
During WWII, the US Navy again was looking at a "cruise missile", the German V-1, to bombard Japan.
Again, the war ended...
Utterly lacking a Commander in Chief they sure needed something.
Can they be programmed to shout something before exploding?
Well, that’s cool!
Wonder what type of warhead it is using and weight of explosives?
That video showed a Humvee with soldiers on patrol. Yet, they “switchblade” wasn’t ready for use, and, it had to be taken from the vehicle and taken out of the bag and had to be made ready, before actually deploying it.
That’s a lot of wasted time, and on the battlefield, time wasted can equal lives lost. Such a device should be ready for use, immediately, just like rifles and pistols. In fact, if they do prove to be useful in the battlefield, then, they should be made part of a bigger weapon system, like a tank, and shot out of a launch tube mounted on a tank.
In the future, perhaps a miniaturized “switchblade” can be developed which will be no bigger than a grenade, and launched out of a grenade launcher. That would then be equal to a “smart bullet”.
There’s no reason why a large drone could not carry a load of these small suicide drones in its belly.
A large drone can loiter for many hours above a set of targets. Small suicide drones could be dropped at will.
The small suicide drones are severely limited in fuel and cannot loiter for more than a few minutes.
If the large drone is at high altitude then the suicide drones could glide for 20+ miles in any direction before they would have to begin consuming their own fuel.
The suicide drones would be a great improvement in many instances over the precision missiles usually fired from larger drones. They could loiter for a short time, be re-tasked, be controlled by a soldier on the ground near the target or from the command center.
Which is why Obama would never allow them to be issued to troops.
It would allow troops in the field to have firepower that could be used to take out enemies, and the JAGs and brass back in HQ would have no power to override or enforce insane Rules of Engagement upon.
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