The US Army Research Lab (ARL) has come up with quite an interesting idea. These tiny drones can now be fired from the 40 mm grenade launchers that these soldiers carry all the while. The reason is obvious: to spy on the activity of a potential enemy. The recent piece of information comes from a news release by John Gerdes, a mechanical engineer working with Army Research Lab.
The ARL or the Army Research Lab is nothing but the corporate research wing of the Army in the United States. The lab is supervised by the Combat Capabilities Development Command of the Army. It first launched its M 320 grenade launcher way back in 2009. The launcher was then upgraded to the current version, i.e., M320A1. The grenades are powered with an effective range of the order of three hundred and fifty meters for an area target.
As per some recent army news release, these small drones can easily be fired from an M320A1 grenade launcher, that too a 40 mm grenade launcher. Most of all, these army men can control the Grenade Launched Unmanned Aerial System, simply called GLUAS, with a handheld device. There is a camera fitted on to the drones; hence they are also called camera drones.
These drones are equipped with stark and clever monitoring. The sharp cameras do the rest of the work. The working is such that the drones vest a good amount of autonomy in the able and expert hands of the military. With a powerful range and lethal engineering, the size and weight have been reduced to suit the practical needs. It was a necessity that has been properly answered to.
From hundreds of feet in the air, these military technologies make sure that they provide their masters with every bit of information from a bird’s eye view and a hawk’s perspective. These devices can naturally transmit live video and still images while being positioned up to two-kilometers away. It is a significant addition to the Army, as this will boost the intelligence sector.
This camera onboard is really effective as well as crucial, given that it can be tapped to receive the video feed from the drone’s view. The drones are militarily very important. There are numerous reasons for this, first and foremost, being their controllability. They work on your beck and call. These small devices are controlled using tiny handheld devices, which function as a remote control.
These handheld devices which make use of GLUAS can be aided by a set of GPS receivers and flight controllers to smoothen and widen their working. Whereas the Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor, SBS had a capacity to stay functional for just 25 minutes, these drones are effective for a total of 90 minutes. Most of all, these newbies do not need canons to get them launched!
As per the statement in the news release, these drones are capable of reaching up to 2,000 feet in the air. If that is not impressive, what then is? These drones that are shot through the grenades can reach up to good 3-kilometers of the range, which can be termed as a good enough speed. The drones run on battery and boast of a projected battery life that could last 90 minutes and above.
John Gerdes, the engineer, working with Army Research Lab, stated in the news release, “We’re here to develop innovative concepts for the war fighter’s needs, which generally means we bring the size and weight down of a device and push up the range and lethality.”
Grenade Launched Unmanned Aerial System is a system that consists of 2 drone types that can be effectively shot using the Army’s 40mm grenade launcher, which is operated via the current version, i.e., M320A1. One model exploits the technology of folding blade propellers that comes with Mylar paragliding wings. These Mylar wings are well suited for strength and durability factors.
These paragliding wings enhance the total stay time of these drones up in the air. The next model of drones makes use of a pair of coaxial rotors that appear as if they are helicopters.