IT sounds like something from a science fiction film, but soon, a ‘magic bullet’ that floats around in the air waiting for its target could become science fact.
This far-fetched sounding piece of ammunition isn’t designed to kill, though.
Called ‘Nonlethal Warhead for Miniature Organic Precision Munitions’, there isn’t even a prototype yet - but it’s on the U.S Army’s wish list.
For the floating bullet, the Army admits that ‘this effort will require innovative research and advancements in non-lethal technologies which can be packaged within a very small volume and weight’ and suggests that designers should consider ‘mechanical, such as rubber balls; acoustic; chemical; electrical; or dazzle’.
The idea certainly isn’t pie in the sky, as the U.S Army already has a ‘kamikaze’ robotic drone dubbed Switchblade, which quietly hovers before dive-bombing and blowing up a target. It launches from a tube before its wings fold out as it flies into the air. The US Army is paying manufacturer AeroVironment $4.9million for the drones to help it develop a new way of killing suspected militants.
The drones have a miniature electric motor and transmit live video from overhead, which helps soldiers identify the enemy. The operators can then send a message to the drone ‘to arm it and lock its trajectory onto the target’, the company said.
The drone will fly into a target and detonate a small explosive - but it can still be disarmed at the last moment even if it is heading for a kill.
The Army’s Close Combat Weapons Systems (CCWS) signed the contract for the drones with AeroVironment last June.                           –DM