Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A quadcopter with a bang

We've all seen news articles about hobbyist quadcopter drones.  Now there's a military version with a bang.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has introduced a new series of new loitering munitions, including a small grenade-carrying quadrotor designed for urban operations.

The Rotem L can carry an 1kg (2.2lb) warhead which consists of two grenades that cause the unmanned vehicle to explode on contact. The warhead can be swapped for a surveillance payload.

Up to three systems can be carried by infantrymen, and it has a beyond-line-of-sight 5nm (10km) communications range and 30min endurance. The Rotem L also contains an acoustic sensor for increased detection.

Loitering munitions are typically fixed-wing, fast-flying systems, so the rotary-wing configuration represents a novel design approach.

There's more at the link.

Here's a video showing the Rotem L in operation.  Its ability to detect and close on a target is shown, but without the explosive warhead being detonated.

Looks interesting . . . and a bit worrying.  If IAI can produce this for sale to its customers, how long will it be before a terrorist-supporting state like Iran can do likewise?  It's already supplying more conventional military drones to its terrorist clients like Hezbollah in Lebanon.  And what sort of havoc could ensue if terrorists use this sort of weapon to target political or business leaders?



raven said...

Have you read John Robbs latest at global guerrillas? On this very subject.
The leverage these relatively low tech devices enable is startling.


David Lang said...

forget worrying about who is selling such things.

do you really think it's that hard to just build them from scratch? the parts and software to build a multiblade copter are readily available, and they can be scaled up to large enough to carry a person very easily.

And since all this stuff is readily available and can re-use parts made for other things, it's impossible to regulate them out of existence.

Anonymous said...

>>I daresay most of my readers from a commercial or industrial background will find much to agree with.<<

There is also the other approach: hire dynamic, confident youngsters with MBA's or business degrees to manage what they don't understand.

I have heard numerous times from friends and relatives in IT that upper management generally has no clue about what they are managing. A perennial problem is trying to put processes and metrics in place to measure things they can't even understand and thus fuck-up the workflow.

I've also heard examples of the dynamic mentioned in the article, but less often.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the hunter/seeker from Dune. Now we just have to work on miniaturization. :-)

Old NFO said...

They are out there in the wild already... sigh

Bob said...

Look forward to drone attacks just about everywhere. we are about to enter a frightening new realm of unstoppable mayhem.

SBP said...

They are out there in the wild already... sigh


shugyosha said...

The Basque terrorism group, ETA, used an R/C model to transport explosives in the... late 80s? Blasted thing blew up when a kid brought it home. I considered the vulnerabilities of seaside luxury hotels to R/C planes and inflatable boats with autopilot not long later. More tech, same idea. Trouble will be when (not if) they harden them and make them autonomous.

Take care.

David Lang said...

don't you guys remember the Dirty Harry movie where they had a bomb on a RC car?

how is this significantly worse?

Will said...

The next iteration of this problem will happen when the carbon nano-tube energy storage devices hits the market. Those battery/capacitors were expected to be available by now. The power and range increase to these types of "vehicles" will be eye-opening.

To give you an idea of the impact of these storage devices, electric cars will be competitive with fueled vehicles, providing the distribution net can handle the increased demand, which they won't, here in the US.