Seeking to decrease civilian casualties and collateral damage, the Pentagon will soon deploy a new generation of drones the size of model planes, packing tiny explosive warheads that can be delivered with pinpoint accuracy.
Errant drone strikes have been blamed for killing and injuring scores of civilians all through Pakistan and Afghanistan, giving the U.S. government a black eye as it targets elusive terrorist groups. The Predator and Reaper drones deployed in these regions normally carry 100-pound laser-guided Hellfire missiles or 500-pound GPS-guided smart bombs that can decrease buildings to smoldering rubble.
The new Switchblade drone, by comparison, weighs much less than 6 pounds and can take out a sniper on a rooftop without blasting the building to bits. It also enables soldiers in the field to identify and destroy targets a lot more speedily by eliminating the need to call in a strike from significant drones that may be hundreds of miles away.
“This is a precision strike weapon that causes as minimal collateral damage as attainable,” stated William I. Nichols, who led the Army’s testing effort of the Switchblades at Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Ala.
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