The idea of small, man portable, soldier-launched aerial drones has been catching on for some time now with the military. Now there is a new drone aircraft that’s made by Aerovironment, the “Switchblade” drone packs neatly into its launch tube, which then packs easily into a backpack. When it’s time to deploy, soldiers quickly set up the launch tube and send Switchblade skyward, where its wings deploy and its quiet electric engine fires up.
From there a pilot can operate the Switchblade remotely, using a video feed from the drone to pilot it and make observations of a potential target. If the target is confirmed, the pilot can arm the on-board munition and fly the drone straight into the target. The drone can fly piloted or autonomously (though naturally it has to receive human commands before arming and attacking). It can even power down its motor and glide in for the kill, offering mission operators a stealthy means of approach. (Full story at: Popular Science)