Monday, October 17, 2011

Kamikaze Drones?!

As reported by AFP,

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.

"Upon confirming the target using the live video feed, the operator then sends a command to the air vehicle to arm it and lock its trajectory onto the target," it said.

The drone then flies into the "target," detonating a small explosive.

For the sake of US relations with Japan, I do hope that the "kamikaze" moniker doesn't last.  The original kamikazes were piloted by real human beings, Japanese pilots of enormous courage and dedication who were willing to embrace the prospect of a sure death in defense of their country and service to their emperor.  To compare to such men the joystick aces who'll be "flying" these drones is a travesty.

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