The lethal micro-drones that can crawl, hover and perch
February 20, 2013 in Technology
U.S. Air Force developing terrifying swarms of tiny unmanned drones that can hover, crawl and even kill targets
- Air Vehicles Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, is already developing prototypes of tiny drones that can hover
- The Micro Air Vehicles will work in swarms to provide complex surveillance of a battlefield
- They can also be armed with incapacitating chemicals, combustible payloads or even explosives ‘for precision targeting capability’
The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf highlighted a “terrifying” prospect on the military technology horizon. The U.S. Air Force are building micro-drones that are “unobtrusive, pervasive, and lethal” weapons.
According to a feature in the National Geographic looking at the progression of drone technologies, “the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has challenged researchers to build drones that mimic the size and behavior of bugs and birds.” The “bugbots” are supposed to “hide in plain sight.” Micro-drones already developed by the Air Force have been built to “resemble winged, multi-legged bugs.” In an Air Force simulation video shown to the National Geographic and posted below, “the drones swarm through alleys, crawl across windowsills, and perch on power lines. One of them sneaks up on a scowling man holding a gun and shoots him in the head.”
Friedersdorf expresses concern that such technology could fall into the hands of America’s enemies. “Sure, we have a technological advantage right now, but micro-drones sure seem like a disruptive technology that will eventually help rather than hinder attempts at asymmetric warfare,” he wrote. Meanwhile, privacy and human rights advocates will likely have their worries piqued by the existence of “unobtrusive” and “pervasive” drones in U.S. hands alone.
The Black Hornet featured in the News
The Black Hornet – tiny spy drone that can follow enemy targets all the way home.
The Prox Dynamics PD-100 Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System was featured on several news sites on February 2nd, 2013. The articles describes Black Hornet operations in Afghanistan and are based on a press release from the UK Ministry of Defence. Click on the links to read the complete articles.
UK MoD sources: