Army Wants Grenade ‘Bots to Fly, Spy, Then Kill

Eugen Leitl eugen at
Fri Dec 9 05:20:52 PST 2011

Army Wants Grenade bBots to Fly, Spy, Then Kill

By Katie Drummond | November 28, 2011 | 12:00 pm | 

Categories: Army and Marines

The militarybs already got grenades that do plenty more than detonate: They
can spray rubber pellets, obliterate underwater opponents and even, uh, be
catapulted from the air in a tiny robocopter.  But the next generation of
grenade? Oh, no biggie, itbll just navigate through the sky on-command, spy
on our enemiesb& and then blow them all up.

At least, if the Armybs latest bright idea moves forward. In their new round
of small business solicitations, top brass are asking for proposals thatbd
yield what amounts to a very deadly grenade-drone love child. Or, as the
Armybs calling it, bA Hovering Tube-Launched Micromunition.b

Already, the Armybs made some impressive advances where grenade munitions are
concerned. Just last year, they ordered up hundreds of bMen in Blackb grenade
launchers, capable of shooting bsmartb grenades loaded with sensors and
microchips that communicate with a guidance system. And of course, drone
development is so hot right now. Used in surveillance for years, the unmanned
vehicles are now getting loaded up with missiles b or, as the newly developed
Switchblade Drone illustrates, turning into missiles themselves.

The Armybs grenade-of-tomorrow would be capable of being fired off from a
launcher before it would bhover/loiter by using propulsion and glideb
according to navigational instructions sent by on-the-ground operators. The
loitering grenade would be able to maneuver itself for 10 minutes and up to
0.6 miles. Of course, the grenades wouldnbt just mosey around. Each one could
bsurvey enemy targets by using a miniature day/night camerab and offer video
feed and GPS coordinates to troops.

Itbs easy to see how that kind of intel b taken inside compound walls, on the
12th floor of a building or anywhere else troops canbt readily, safely access
b could be incredibly valuable. Not to mention that once soldiers have the
info they need, the hovering grenade can make the ultimate sacrifice. The
Army wants each one loaded with ba lethal payloadb to blow whateverbs spied
by the grenadebs cameras to smithereens. Sounds a lot like the Switchblade,
which will offer surveillance and lethality in a bbackpack sizedb device,
except presumably even smaller. At this rate, itbs only a matter of time
before death-from-above shrinks enough to turn the Air Forcebs adorable
micro-aviary into an extremely deadly one.

Photo: U.S. Air Force

More information about the cypherpunks-legacy mailing list