DRONE WATCH: The Switchblade is Coming

By Duane Shank 6-11-2012 | Series:

It’s 2 feet long, weighs only 6 pounds, and can fit into a soldier’s backpack.  It’s the “Switchblade,” the next generation of drones. They’re about the size of model planes, with tiny explosive warheads that the soldier firing it can accurately aim at a target. Its accuracy is being touted as a way to minimize civilian casualties.

According to the Los Angeles Times,

"The 2-foot-long Switchblade is so named because its wings fold into the fuselage for transport and spring out after launch. It is designed to fit into a soldier's rucksack and is fired from a mortar-like tube. Once airborne, it begins sending back live video and GPS coordinates to a hand-held control set clutched by the soldier who launched it. When soldiers identify and lock on a target, they send a command for the drone to nose-dive into it and detonate on impact. Because of the way it operates, the Switchblade has been dubbed the "kamikaze drone."… "This is a precision strike weapon that causes as minimal collateral damage as possible," said William I. Nichols, who led the Army's testing effort.”

Sound like a future fantasy? Think again, “About a dozen Switchblades were tested last year by special operations units in Afghanistan, according to Army officials, who said the drone proved effective.”

Don't Miss a Story!

Get Sojourners delivered straight to your inbox.

Have Something to Say?

Add or Read Comments on
"DRONE WATCH: The Switchblade is Coming"
Launch Comments
By commenting here, I agree to abide by the Sojourners Comment Community Covenant guidelines and acknowledge that my comment may be published in the Letters to the Editor section of Sojourners magazine.

In This Series

Subscribe