US army orders fleet of bird-like drones

Maveric unmanned aerial vehicle is a small drone that can be launched by hand and resembles birds.

The Pentagon has ordered three-dozen bird-like micro-drones in order to equip US soldiers with tiny drones in combat, Prioria Robotics of Florida has announced.

The robotics company says US Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) earlier this month awarded them $4.5 million in federal contracts to deliver 36 models of the drone to the US Department of Defense by December, RT reported.

The company�™s Maveric unmanned aerial vehicle is a small drone that can be launched by hand and resembles birds.

The small UAV utilizes flexible wings, weighs about 2.5 pounds, and can speed up to 55 knots in the sky, which enables it to blend into its surrounding, Army News Service wrote.

REF project manager Tami Johnson told Army News Service that the Pentagon�™s request �œcalled for a small, subtle capability that could be employed by a single soldier.”

Allen McDuffee at Wired�™s Danger Room noted this week that the current fleet of US drones can be easily spotted and targeted in the sky. The solution he writes, is to forget about the military look and �œmake them look like birds,” McDuffee wrote.

�œThere was a Special Operations requirement for a plane that had a natural, biological look – it wasn�™t supposed to look DoD-ish,” Derek Lyons, the vice president of sales and business development at Prioria, recently explained to Flightglobal.

Unlike current drones, Maveric is not yet expected to do any physical damage to the Pentagon�™s targets.

In a statement from Prioria, the Gainesville, Florida company said its product was approved by the Army because it is �œusable in the most rugged conditions and equipped with the largest number of payload options of any hand-launched” unmanned aerial systems.

Among Maveric�™s features are the ability to capture images in a variety of environments, conducting intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance, and carrying other custom payloads for its operating team.

Pentagon says the aircraft has been tested and certified by Army Test and Evaluation Command.

In addition to the 36 micro-drones ordered, Prioria will also be supplying the Army with a dozen ground control stations.

Each Maveric is valued at between $100,000 and $200,000, according to the CBS station.


Source: Press TV