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U.S. Marines Are Testing Tiny Drones That Can Be Fired From Grenade Launchers

As technology is advancing, so are the methods used by the military. We've seen ground drones being used for a wide range of military operations in Europe. Now, the U.S. Marines are demonstrating what drones deployed from grenade launchers can do.
A rifleman using the Drone-40 on July 7th 6 photos
U.S. Marines testing the new gear on Camp Lejeune, North CarolinaU.S. Marines testing the new gear on Camp Lejeune, North CarolinaU.S. Marines testing the new gear on Camp Lejeune, North CarolinaU.S. Marines testing the new gear on Camp Lejeune, North CarolinaU.S. Marines testing the new gear on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
On July 7th, the U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 2d Marine Regiment conducted a training exercise with drones on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Images taken on that day show a rifleman using a flying grenade called Drone-40. Manufactured by Australian defense firm DefenderTex, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is a modular autonomous quadcopter that can be used either for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes or as a loitering munition.

It can be equipped with a video camera, a laser designator, and several other payloads. It's a small drone, measuring just 12 centimeters (5-in) in length, and it weighs about 190 grams (7 oz). It can be launched either manually or by firing a 40mm grenade launcher, and it has an operational time of up to one hour.

Plus, this little quadcopter gives one single Marine Corp "multiple round simultaneous impact" capabilities. That means that that the drones can be used in swarms, working as a force multiplier. Applications that it can be used for include long-range target engagement drop smoke screens to protect the military and surveillance.

During the drill conducted on July 7th, the U.S. Marines also tested the Switchblade drone, a loitering munition that has been in service since 2015. Designed as a "kamikaze," it is capable of crashing into its target and destroying it with an explosive payload. The Switchblade can be launched from various platforms such as ground, sea, and air, and it is tiny enough to fit in a backpack.

According to the II Marine Expeditionary Force, the new gear, operating concepts, and force structures tested by the 2nd Marine Division's experimental infantry battalion will help refine infantry battalions across the Marine Corps in accordance with Force Design 2030.


 
 
 
 
 

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