October 18, 2011
WASHINGTON — A miniature “kamikaze” drone designed to quietly hover in the sky before dive-bombing and slamming into a human target will soon be part of the US Army’s arsenal, officials say.
Dubbed the “Switchblade,” the robotic aircraft represents the latest attempt by the United States to refine how it takes out suspected militants.
Weighing less than two kilos, the drone is small enough to fit into a soldier’s backpack and is launched from a tube, with wings quickly folding out as it soars into the air, according to manufacturer AeroVironment.
Powered by a small electric motor, the Switchblade transmits video in real time from overhead, allowing a soldier to identify an enemy, the company said in a press release last month.
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