Kamikaze drones expand kill zone

Posted by Shane McGlaun

The US military deploys drones for a wide variety of mission scenarios in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. The unmanned aerial vehicles can be used to gather intelligence, conduct surveillance and even destroy a hostile target.

One of the more common drones currently deployed by the Pentagon is dubbed the Raven. This small, handheld drone is typically launched by a single soldier and then controlled remotely to gather real-time information. 

Unsurprisingly, the Raven is expected to serve as the paradigm for a next-gen drone that will be specifically designed to take direct action against targets. Dubbed the Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS), the unmanned aerial vehicle weighs less than 5 pounds and will ultimately be capable of striking a target up to 6 miles away in 30 minutes or less.

According to Wired Danger Room, the Army is more concerned about the drone's weight rather than size, with official pre-solicitation documents emphasizing strict adherence to the former, as well as the ability to stay aloft for 30 minutes at a time. LMAMS will also have to be fairly quick, with Army specs stipulating a 6-mile range within 30 minutes or less.

Interestingly, LMAMS seems somewhat similar to the Switchblade drone we discussed earlier this year. The major difference? How long the drone can fly. The Switchblade specs call for a 10-minute flight duration whereas LMAMS would offer 30 minutes in the air.