Capable of firing semi-automatic weapons and 40mm grenades, it really is death from above.
In what is quite possibly the most frightening news beyond impending nuclear war, an American military drone company has developed a gun-wielding drone. Yes, that's right, a drone equipped with an assault rifle intended to fight in a hot conflict. They've even made a hilarious photoshopped image of what said drone may look like in combat against insurgents.
I say hilarious, it's also harrowing. The TIKAD, developed by Duke Robotics, is intended to be the soldier of the future, a tool that means there's no need for soldiers to enter into hot-conflict zones to take out their opponents. It's a vision of the future that Terminator predicted – before the robots turned on us and hunted us down like wild game.
“As a former Special Mission Unit commander, I have been in the battlefield for many years, and more than once I hoped that a different solution other than sending in the troops existed,” said CEO Raziel Atuar in a statement to Digital Trends. “At Duke Robotics, we wanted to create something that would be a game changer in future battles, [and] that could save lives of troops, as well as uninvolved civilians, in the combat zone.”
Weighing 50kg, TIKAD is capable of flying anywhere between 30 and 1,500 ft and can carry a wide arrangement of semi-automatic weapons plus a 40mm grenade launcher. It's built with proprietary recoil stabilisation technology, offers high levels of accuracy (well, you'd hope so) and is completely remotely operated.
“TIKAD is ready to be delivered,” Atuar continued. “We are in the process of implementing an initial order from the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and we are in contact with selected governments as potential customers. For obvious reasons, our government customers are highly sensitive regarding this type of information, and it is up to them to decide if and when to share more information [about where these drones are deployed].”
The company says that modern battlefields have changed, we're seeing more UAV usage and remote combat. Conflicts are resorting to guerilla tactics and so, in Atuar's opinion, it's time to take to the air and make use of small arms.
The guys at Duke Robotics aren't the first people to strap a gun to a drone. Two years ago a YouTube video surfaced of a young man who had built his own drone capable of firing a handgun and auto-stabilising itself from the recoil. Call of Duty publisher Activision also put together a spoof video of a Russian-built drone firing a machine gun to promote its 2012 game Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Five years on, it looks as if that dark future Call of Duty developer Treyarch envisioned has come to pass. Can we just get back to hot dog delivery drones please?