Posted by John Keller
Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or "micro air vehicles," you know -- the kind that soldiers launch by hand like model airplanes -- are about to get a lot scarier.
A coalition of technology researchers, firearms experts, and micro air vehicle designers are developing an 11-ounce cannon that is mountable to a 3-pound hand-launched UAV to destroy enemy snipers and other hidden targets with a 12-gauge shotgun shell or high-explosive air burst.
That's right; they're putting a 12-gauge shotgun on a remote-control model airplane equipped with a video camera and video link that streams video in real time to laptop computers operated by soldiers on the ground.
Soon infantry soldiers who come under sniper attack can break out a little remote-control UAV from their backpacks, boot up a rugged laptop computer, and toss that UAV on its way. With the video link and laptop, the soldiers can search the area for the offending snipers and take them out with the aerial shotgun.
They can do this with an inexpensive -- and even expendable -- micro UAV, video camera, and laptop computer.
I have a feeling the guys fighting down in the mud are going to like these shotgun-equipped UAVs almost as much as they like the A-10 Warthog close-air-support aircraft ...
... and guess what -- that shotgun-equipped UAV not only costs a lot less than an A-10, but it's around when the infantry needs it.
Welcome to the 21st century.