The U.S. Navy has tested disposable drones

CICADA Mark IIIAll armies are currently working on the concept of swarm of drones where the mission can be carried out successfully thanks to the use of multiple UAVs at low cost. NRL (Naval Research Laboratory) comes to test the CICADA Mark III, a miniature drone. A limited cost, this small drone without motor must be dropped from high altitude then gliding to its target and then issue its data until it is destroyed. This cicada holds more paper than the high drone aircraft. It might yet have civilian uses.

A mini-UAV project, presented at the Lab Day of the Pentagon

Drone Tempest

Attached to a weather balloon, the drone Tempest with its two CICADA hooked under his wings during tests at Yuma, Arizona. (Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

The project was introduced at the Pentagon’s ‘lab day’ last week but the last test took place on 1 September last in Yuma, Arizona. To test the drone CICADA Mark III, the researchers have developed an ingenious device. To demonstrate that this little glider could be dropped of high altitude from a combat aircraft, they have installed 2 of these mini-drones under the wings of a drone barely larger, a Tempest, which was hooked to a meteorological balloon to train the together aloft. Come to 60,000 feet (more than 18,000 m), the Tempest was dropped and he was able to launch the CICADA 30 nautical miles (18 km) from the target. Each equipped with a GPS chip, the drones went arise within 50 cm of the assigned position. The drone designers believe that their creation can glide up to 74 km from the release point.
Consists of 10 pieces only, the CICADA (for Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft) is difficult to detect by radar because of its modest size and the absence of metal parts, the drone devoid of motor. This 3rd version has been especially stiffened and she would be able to withstand an acceleration of 10,000 g, making it possible to launch in a shell.

Le CICADA pourra être fabriquer en série au prix de 250 $ pièceThe CICADA can be produced in series at the price of $250 a piece

CICADA launch

CICADA away! (Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

The cost of returned prototypes would be of the order of $1,000 a piece, but the NRL researchers believe that it will be possible to lower the production cost at $250 each. Still priced relatively high knowing that an airdrop directed from a C-130 Hercules could include up to 8,900 drones… a cloud of UAVs to more than $ 2.2 million.
In terms of applications, the military could detect the movements of troops on vast desert expanses in equipping these mini-drones of seismic sensors. With magnetic detectors, they could also detect submarines through airdrops over the ocean. Among the mentioned civil applications, meteorology: the CICADA could be dropped over the tornadoes then retransmit data speed and real time temperature.
Nevertheless these mini-UAVs have many limitations. Their low payload will limit the range of sensors and means of communication available. Thus, the CICADA is not capable of transmitting a video stream, which imposes a band too high network bandwidth. The researchers did not reveal what means of communication was currently has the drone, or even the duration of battery life.

Translation : Bing Translator

Sources :

“Swarms of Mini-Drones Prepping for Remote Battle”, Discovery News, May 17, 2015

“‘Cicadas’: US military’s new swarm of mini-drones”, AFP pour BusinessInsider, May 15, 2015

“It’s a Bug, It’s a Plane, It’s a Flying Circuit Board”, Afcea, December 2011

“Autonomous Deployment Demonstration Program Completes Flight Testing”, NRL, December 5, 2011

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