Nov 212011
XM307 25 mm caliber 2-man portable autocannon

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“shape-changing maneuverable munition”

Not long after placing its first order for suicide drones, the U.S. Army has set its sights upon a tiny hovering robot capable of scouting dense city environments before exploding with lethal consequences. Such a weapon must have the ability to hover for 10 minutes as it darts inside buildings, searches for enemies with a camera and sends back GPS coordinates of possible targets.

The “hovering tube-launched micromunition” must deploy from a standard U.S. military weapon such as a mortar or grenade launcher, according to a call for Small Business Innovation Research proposals. It might even end up launching from an aircraft or missile under different circumstances. Such battlefield technology could also help with search and rescue missions, or cover special events that might require crowd control.

A previous suicide drone ordered by the U.S. military, AeroVironment’s Switchblade, appears about the size of a backpack and is remotely controlled by a single soldier. By contrast, the “micromunition” drone would need to be much smaller if the Army intends it to launch from standard-issue military weapons.

Whatever its final shape, the newly requested drone must have the flying capability to travel at least 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) during its brief battlefield scouting mission.

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