Tag Archives: military

The Kamikaze Drone: The Weaponized RC Plane that Fits in your Backpack.

From the L.A Times:

Seeking to reduce civilian casualties and collateral damage, the Pentagon will soon deploy a new generation of drones the size of model planes, packing tiny explosive warheads that can be delivered with pinpoint accuracy.

Reducing civilian casualties?  Sounds great until an enemy gets a hold of one of these – or better yet, orders one from on online hobby shop and makes their own.  And we thought I.E.D’s where bad…

Errant drone strikes have been blamed for killing and injuring scores of civilians throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan, giving the U.S. government a black eye as it targets elusive terrorist groups. The Predator and Reaper drones deployed in these regions typically carry 100-pound laser-guided Hellfire missiles or 500-pound GPS-guided smart bombs that can reduce buildings to smoldering rubble.

The new Switchblade drone, by comparison, weighs less than 6 pounds and can take out a sniper on a rooftop without blasting the building to bits. It also enables soldiers in the field to identify and destroy targets much more quickly by eliminating the need to call in a strike from large drones that may be hundreds of miles away.

“This is a precision strike weapon that causes as minimal collateral damage as possible,” said William I. Nichols, who led the Army‘s testing effort of the Switchblades at Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Ala.

The 2-foot-long Switchblade is so named because its wings fold into the fuselage for transport and spring out after launch. It is designed to fit into a soldier’s rucksack and is fired from a mortar-like tube. Once airborne, it begins sending back live video and GPS coordinates to a hand-held control set clutched by the soldier who launched it.

When soldiers identify and lock on a target, they send a command for the drone to nose-dive into it and detonate on impact. Because of the way it operates, the Switchblade has been dubbed the “kamikaze drone.”

I wish I could believe that the military were only thinking of reducing civilian casualties when developing this technology, and maybe in the short-term that may be the case,  the long-term implications of these little death toys coming state-side and getting into the wrong hands are the things of nightmares.

Arms-control advocates also have concerns. As these small robotic weapons proliferate, they worry about what could happen if the drones end up in the hands of terrorists or other hostile forces.

The Switchblade “is symptomatic of a larger problem thatU.S. military and aerospace companies are generating, which is producing various more exotic designs,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Assn. “This technology is not always going to be in the sole possession of the U.S. and its allies.

 (emphasis mine)

We need to think about the rules of the road for when and how these should be used so we can mitigate against unintended consequences.”

You can read the full article here.

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So, you wrote a novel. What’s it about?

It’s frustrating how hard this question is to answer without inadvertently making people’s eyes glaze over.  So, as an exercise I’ve been trying to write an elevator pitch for this book – or you know, the back of the book blurb that’s supposed to wet a reader’s appetite and get them to buy the darn thing.  It should be simple, right?

It’s not. At least for me.

But, that said, here’s a couple of the blurbs I’ve been working on – all for Pandora Mech, the story I just finished.  And these are in no way done – I’m probably going to go through a hundred variations of each just to get the right one.

1.)Thorpco has designed the perfect killing machine for the military but has one problem: not enough operators with the talent to push the tech to its limits.

Desperate and in need of operators to help land a high-profile military contract, Thorpco looks to the competitive gaming community for talent and recruits a handful of legendary pro gamers down on their luck and in need of a job.

Little do they know if they’re successful, it could change the way the world plays and makes war, forever.

Bleh, here’s another:

2.)Titus Kane, a legendary pro-gamer in the decline of his career is thinking of finally hanging up the game controller for a regular nine-to-five, when an old rival and ex-military drone pilot offers him a contract to work at an unmanned combat military robotics developer, for really good money.

The money could change his career for the better, but the job, if successful, could change the world for the worse.

Meh.  Here’s a longer one:

3.)In a world where warfare is rapidly changing and being fought from remotely operated military drones,

One weapon company has finally developed the ultimate in remotely operated vehicles; a sophisticated Battle Mech that could one day do the job of the everyday foot soldier.   But the company lacks one thing: talented operators to control them and in desperation, look to the competitive gaming scene for operators.

Titus is a legendary professional gamer, worshipped within the niche’ gaming community, but his career has been in slow decline with less wins and less sponsor’s he is forced to consider retirement – until a weapon’s developer offers him a job he can’t refuse.

Thrust into a war he didn’t know he had been recruited for, and bound by contract to continue, Titus and his team of other ex-pro gamer Battle Mech operators come face to face with the blurry boundaries of war and realize that war is not a game.

Yeah, I know, that last one there was a mess!  (sorry!)

Well, back to the drawing board.  My goal is to try to get three variations a night until I get a winner.  Also, during this time I’ll be revising and polishing what I wrote – my goal being to go through the manuscript at least 7 times before handing it off to beta readers.

So that’s kind of what my book is about, anyway.

Cheers!

R.

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Just some things I’ve been researching…

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