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US Marine Corps looking to acquire portable ‘suicide drones’

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War is a business that trades in death and human misery. When new weapons becomes available on the international arms scene – packed with cutting-edge technology and ever more efficient at killing enemies – there are always buyers clamoring to add a new capability to their arsenal.

The Drive reports that the US Marine Crops are currently shopping around for new capabilities in their Organic Precision Fires (OPF) program. They recently requested on a U.S. government contracting website for prospective weapon vendors to submit information about options for a “tube-launched loitering munition.”

One of the options the Marines are investigating to fulfill this purpose are so-called ‘suicide drones’, similar to the ones pictured below.

What role will such drones play in US warfare operations?

The Marines require that any new weapon acquisition in this class should be capable of maintaining contact between craft and controller for more than 15.5 miles (25km) although they ultimately wish for a weapon with a range of twice that. They similarly need crafts that will remain in flight for at least an hour. Such UAVs should contain sensors that perform surveillance and reconnaissance functions (visible to the pilot on their handheld screen controller), including identifying or recognizing enemies.

The Marines have requested that launch tubes for such drones should be less than a foot in diameter, shorter than eight feet and ideally the whole system shoud be capable of being transported by one Marine (although two is also permissible).

An example of a tube-launched suicide drone at a military expo.

Where does the ‘suicide’ part of the name imply?

Once the drone has flown over a particular area and gathered information it can either turn back to base or lock-on to a target using GPS coordinates and fly directly into it, blowing up on impact. The exact amount of explosive in any individual drone would vary depending on which craft the Marines go with.

If you wanna see one of these crafts in action – check out the YouTube video below. * It’s not the greatest of videos but it gives you an idea.

There are reportedly multiple drone manufacturers in contention whose UAVs meet the requirements laid out by the Marine Corps including a modified version of Raytheon’s Coyote Drone.

The Marines, for their part, have issued a statement claiming their current enquiries are simply part of “market research.” A final decision on whether such an acquisition will take place is expected to be made soon. Whichever new drone is chosen, you can rest assured it is going to be damn good at killing folk.

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