Air Force seeks lethal mini-drones

Jan. 3, 2011 at 10:52 AM
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KADIMA, Israel, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A rapid acquisition program for lethal mini-drones for Special Operations Forces has reportedly been launched by the U.S. Air Force's Rapid Acquisition Cell.

Defense Update, an Israeli publication, said the equipment to be delivered under the Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System program will provide warfighters in covert positions a portable, non-line-of-sight precision strike capability with a very low risk of collateral damage.

Last month, the Air Force selected Aerovironment, IAT and Textron Defense Systems three contractors to provide weaponized systems for a test series planned for this spring. Procurement of weapons would begin next year.

Two representative systems in the category are a new "Point and Toss" mini-drone from IAT and the Switchblade, developed by Aerovironment, Defense Update said.

The Air Force expects the new weapon to weigh around 3 pounds. The user would also carry an integrated operating console and communications unit of about the same weight.

Once fired, the system should be capable of acquiring a man-sized target at the system's combat range, in less than 20 seconds, flying about 100 yards above ground. If conditions for attack aren't met, the MAV will be able to loiter over the target for up to 30 minutes, the report said.

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