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Textron’s Remote-Controlled Flying Bomb

by Matt Cox on September 19, 2012

Textron Defense Systems has a new flying drone that’s designed to explode on contact with enemy positions.

The compact BattleHawk Squad Level Loitering Munition is armed with a 40mm high-fragmentation charge. It has a video camera built into its nose, so ground troops can remotely pilot it over rooftops or hills to attack hiding enemy forces.

The BattleHawk weighs about five pounds when it’s packed inside its special launching tube. A spring propels the drone into the air and the electric motor starts up the tiny, rear propeller.

“Once it’s launched, it’s armed,” Mick Guthals, director of Business Strategy & Capture at Textron, said while displaying the BattleHawk at the Air Force Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. Sept. 17–19.

Using a small remote control, ground troops can fly the BattleHawk at speeds up to 60 miles per hour for approximately 30 minutes. The BattleHawk is designed to attack dismounted enemy and light-skinned vehicles, Textron officials said.

So far, the BattleHawk has been an in-house project at Textron, but Guthals said U.S. Special Operations Command units have shown interest in the carbon-fiber, flying explosive. Textron hopes to market it to conventional infantry units as well, he said.

Textron officials would not talk price, but did say the BattleHawk should cost “considerably less” than a similar-sized unmanned aerial vehicle, Guthals said.

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