U.S. Army Commissions Small Drones Shaped Like Birds and Insects
"Nobody can tell it's a spy because it's designed to the exact body shape and feather pattern of a eagle," he said. "We can design it to look like any large bird, depending on the location of the client."The remote-controlled aircraft, which is fitted with state-of-the-art cameras, can automatically provide target location data to nearby mortars.
The drone, which costs about £1,000 and fits inside two briefcases, is being tested by the Spanish military, and Expal is in talks to sell it to several other countries' armed forces.
November 29, 2013
News.com - ARE our soldiers men or mice? When the shadow of a hawk flashes past, they'd better now look twice: It could be a drone in disguise.
The US Department of Defence has commissioned a small drone which looks like a bird in order to slip unnoticed into areas of conflict.
Up close, the Maverick may not be a dead ringer. But, when circulating high on the wings of the wind, it can barely be distinguished from the real thing.
Drones have become an integral part of day-to-day combat operations. But the relatively cheap eyes-in-the sky have their limits: Not only can people hide when they spot one coming, a few well-placed rifle shots can bring one down.
That's not so likely if they think it's a bird - rather than a plane.
Acquired under an "urgent need" defence contract, the $5 million fledgling project will deliver an initial batch of 36 of the raptors by the end of the year.
It's also swift. The propeller can push the predatory form at close to 105km/h.
It is armed only with cameras, for intelligence gathering - when it comes to dealing a deadly blow, the US military will still need to call in its weapons-heavy big hitters.
Like its feathered friends of old, who were taken hawking by knights and nobles, the Maverick is intended to become a soldier's personal and portable companion.
Instead of perching, hooded, on a leather-bound arm, this drone can be packed into a carry-bag to be deployed on the battlefield. Instead of rats and mice, its food will be batteries. But soldiers will need to carry quite a few: It can only stay aloft for about an hour.
But this military menace may end up having dire implications for its feathered friends.
Soldiers seeing the familiar shape in the sky may now shoot first and pluck later.