A Drone Militaries Can Use to Seek and Destroy or Seek and Return
To Loiter or Not to Loiter, That Is the Munitions Question of the Day
Costa Mesa, California-based Anduril Industries has literally and figuratively launched its boomerang drone bomb. Equipped with an autonomous, artificial intelligence (AI) “brain,” the Roadrunner UAV is capable of taking down a moving target midair and destroying itself on impact. Should the mission not achieve its objective, Roadrunner will turn itself around and land itself nose-up on pop-out landing struts.
Anduril’s chief strategy officer, Christian Brose, said Roadrunner was conceived as a cost-effective means that the U.S. military and its allies could use to terminate hostile threats approaching from the skies above.
“A few years ago, what we saw coming was a new class of threats,” Brose told the Los Angeles Times, referring to drone swarms.
Yes, similar surface-to-air missile (SAM) weapons, such as the Patriot Missile, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Boeing, have been in service since 1976, but at a domestic cost of US$4 million for a single missile and upward of US$1 billion for a battery of missile. Without going into specifics, Brose cites a range in the “low six figures” for a Roadrunner.
Running their own maintenance checks, the Roadrunners can be reliably stored for months in their storage container, which the company calls a Nest, ensuring they are flight-ready until duty calls.
The self-destroying Roadrunner can be fitted with a warhead, a camera and other sensors, a modular approach buyers can use to adapt the drones to their specific needs.
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