I've talked more than once about how swarms of drones are used more and more on the front lines in war theaters. Systems for the anti-aircraft defense from drones they are growing. Only the drones "on a suicide mission" remained: those too arrive. That's what Defendtex, an Australian defense company, intends to do with its Drone40. Basically a flying grenade.
Recently, the US Marines conducted a training exercise with the Drone40 for the first time at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The test was intended to compare the reliability and performance of the flying grenade with the manufacturer's claims and determine whether they can be easily implemented in the field.
How does the grenade drone work?
Unlike commonly seen drones which are broad-bodied, Drone40 has a vertical fuselage. It still uses four blades for flight, but has a relatively small footprint. Why does it have a vertical fuselage? Easy. To launch it with a grenade launcher. Why launch it with a grenade launcher? Even easier. The fuselage comes packed with explosives.
In summary, the drone can function like a grenade, but with one difference. The flight of a grenade drone can be controlled by radio from a portable ground station. It can hit the target and explode or just return to base.
More importantly (but this only serves to reduce distress) its payload can be easily swapped in the field. The grenade drone can carry out a mission with payload: for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). Or to stream HD video.
Death comes lightly
Weighing just over 190 grams (six ounces), the Drone40 has a maximum takeoff weight of just 300 grams (10 ounces). While this doesn't sound like much, it's the versatility of the load that makes the difference. The drone can carry a kinetic payload, function as a smoke or flash grenade, and even carry a laser scanner.
A few figures - Its 20,5 Wh battery provides a flight time of between 30 and 60 minutes with a range of over 20 kilometers (12 miles) and a speed of 20 meters per second (60 feet per second) in autopilot mode.
When required, the grenade drone can even be hand launched.