Thursday, September 25, 2008


At the Air Force Research Laboratory near Dayton, Ohio, civilian researchers and military developers have set a 2015 deadline for the first battlefield ready, lethal generation of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs).

The first armada of tiny flying death machines will be the size of small birds and will be able to operate several days without recharging. On the heels of these lethal mini-drones, bug-sized swarms of GPS-guided soldiers will flitter, slither and creep into enemy war zones to spy, provide real-time intelligence reporting, and, when ordered to do so, kill adversaries.

"It may look like a futuristic arcade game," says Aamer Madhani for the Chicago Tribune, "but it's a scene from an official Air Force animated video: Bad guys of indiscernible origin being shadowed, from a careful distance, by small robotic drones designed to resemble birds and insects.

When one of the bad guys opens his apartment door, a tiny robo-bug, looking like a garage door opener with wings, sneaks in to spy. In another scene, a bug—the Air Force calls them Micro Air Vehicles, or MAVs—creeps into a sniper's roost and delivers a deadly shot to the back of his head. It might sound far-fetched. But top Air Force officials believe that MAVs could be a significant part of the Defense Department's arsenal in the not-so-distant future.


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