November 28, 2013
The robotics company says US Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) earlier this month awarded them $4.5 million in federal contracts to deliver 36 models of the drone to the US Department of Defense by December, RT reported.
The company’s Maveric unmanned aerial vehicle is a small drone that can be launched by hand and resembles birds.
The small UAV utilizes flexible wings, weighs about 2.5 pounds, and can speed up to 55 knots in the sky, which enables it to blend into its surrounding, Army News Service wrote.
REF project manager Tami Johnson told Army News Service that the Pentagon’s request “called for a small, subtle capability that could be employed by a single soldier.”
Allen McDuffee at Wired’s Danger Room noted this week that the current fleet of US drones can be easily spotted and targeted in the sky. The solution is to forget about the military look and “make them look like birds,” McDuffee wrote.
“There was a Special Operations requirement for a plane that had a natural, biological look – it wasn’t supposed to look DoD-ish,” Derek Lyons, the vice president of sales and business development at Prioria, recently explained to Flightglobal.
Unlike current drones, Maveric is not yet expected to do any physical damage to the Pentagon’s targets.
Image from prioria.com
In a statement from Prioria, the Gainesville, Florida company said its product was approved by the Army because it is “usable in the most rugged conditions and equipped with the largest number of payload options of any hand-launched” unmanned aerial systems.
Among Maveric’s features are the ability to capture images in a variety of environments, conducting intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance, and carrying other custom payloads for its operating team.
Pentagon says the aircraft has been tested and certified by Army Test and Evaluation Command.
In addition to the 36 micro-drones ordered, Prioria will also be supplying the Army with a dozen ground control stations.
Each Maveric is valued at between $100,000 and $200,000, according to the CBS station.