By Eddie Wrenn
The U.S. military is seeking contractors to build it miniature ‘suicide drones’ that can be flown into targets up to six miles away.
The little planes, which could look like the remote-controlled aircraft used in a more domestic setting, could be used for kamikaze-style attacks on vehicles or buildings – even individuals if necessary.
The Army wants the weapons, known as the ‘Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System’ (LMAMS) into war by 2016, and describe the weapon as a ‘portable, covert weapon with strike capability against stationary or moving individuals, with a very low risk of collateral damage‘.
The ‘plane’ will consist of a drone, warhead and launching device with a maximum weight of less than five pounds.
The aim is to fit the entire plane in a backpack, and be able to fly it two minutes after a target is agreed on. At that point, the plane must be able to fly for 15 to 30 minutes across up to six miles of territory.
According to Wired, size is not the main issue, as long as the craft is light enough for easy transport by foot.
Once deployed, the craft could be controlled by a human, or by GPS.
The proposal document says that: ‘Once a target is selected by the operator in the terminal phase of an engagement no further operator input shall be required’.
One last requirements shows the need to reduce collateral damage: with the army stating the drone must have an ‘extremely low probability’ of killing someone 10 meters from the bomb’s impact.
Wired points out that the Army already has researchers looking at three different ways of miniaturising drones.
The first is to build tiny explosives, which can fit on already existing miniature spy drones.
The second is to take existing drones and scale down the technology, as happens in other industries such as the computing world.
Lastly, the army is looking at ‘mashing-up’ existing drone and missile technology, creating a hybrid which is effectively a guided missile.