Did you like the drone work in last night’s Super Bowl halftime show? You’ll love the drone weapon at the center of a U.S. Army research proposal. It sounds like something Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne would build.
The Army wants a missile that carries a payload of quadcopter drones instead of a traditional warhead. The missile travels within range of the target(s) and deploys a swarm explosively armed drones each of which seeks out its own target—gun barrels, vehicles, ammunition stockpiles, anything really.
OBJECTIVE: Develop a cluster payload which can be launched and deployed from a GMLRS or ATACMS platform. The payload shall consist of multiple deployable smart quad-copters capable of delivering small explosively formed penetrators (EFP) to designated targets.
Imagine the impact of having a single missile capable of seeking out and destroying multiple targets across a large area. One missile taking out an entire convoy of vehicles or fleet of aircraft on the ground with pinpoint precision.
DESCRIPTION: The US Army has a desire for a missile launched payload consisting of multiple quad-copters. The missile will release the quad-copter payload during flight, after which the quad-copters must decelerate to a velocity suitable for deployment (unfolding), identify potential targets, maneuver to and land on the target, and detonate onboard EFP munition(s). Potential targets include tank and large caliber gun barrels, fuel storage barrels, vehicle roofs, and ammunition storage sites. The ultimate goal is to produce a missile deployable, long range UAS swarm that can deliver small EFPs to a variety of targets. This will serve as a smart augmentation to the standard missile warhead. What is solicited is a GMLRS or ATACMS launched payload consisting of multiple quad-copters carrying EFP munitions. Quad-copters should carry onboard power sufficient to conduct mission. Quad-copters should be able to withstand missile launch environments (acceleration, shock and vibration spectra) and thermal loads at deployment.
This could be the ultimate tool for taking out bad guys while minimizing risk to people and property. Scary to think about being on the receiving end of something like this.