Washington: Unmanned Predators and Reapers
aircraft are already a scourge in Pakistan`s tribal badlands,
but soon the US forces will confront the militants with a new
weapon, miniaturised "Kamakaze" drones, launched by soldiers
in the battlefield itself.
Labelled `switchblade`, the mini drones are small enough
to fit into a soldier`s backpack and hover quietly in the sky
before diving to slam into a human target with precision.
The `switchblade` will join the US army`s arsenal after a
USD 4.9 million deal was signed with the manufacturer
Aerovironment in June, the `Defence News` reported. But, the
US army was tight-lipped about its exact induction schedule.
The drones unlike Predators and Reapers are touted as a
weapon which only hits the targets and can avoid collateral
The California-based firm said the drone weighing just 2
kgs is powered by a small electric motor and can receive
signals from overhead in realtime, allowing soldiers to
identify an enemy, the paper quoted a company statement as
After the targets are identified, using the live video
feed, the operator locks its trajectory onto the target and
the drone then flies into the target, detonating a small
The company statement said the switchblade flies quietly
at high speed and delivers its onboard explosive payload with
precision while minimising collateral damage.
The US forces currently use larger Predator and Reaper
drones to hunt down al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in Pakistan
These drones fire powerful Hellfire missiles and drop
heavy bombs, which sometimes cause civilian casualties,
fuelling public outrage.
The makers of the new drone say that the unmanned
vehicles can be called off at the last moment even after a
kill mission has been ordered.
"The drones have a high level of control not available in
other weapons," the company claims.