Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Dwarf Drones

Since the 1970s, the U.S. military has used unmanned airplanes to see behind enemy lines. But each of these “drones,” which cost upwards of $15 million apiece, provides strategic intelligence only to top-ranking officials. Real-time surveillance information rarely makes it to the commander on the battlefield’s front line. The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is on the verge of changing that.

In collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory, the Marine Corps plans for the first time to deploy miniature, autonomous unmanned air vehicles. Each of the 73-centimeter, 1.9-kilogram spy planes-dubbed Dragon Eyes-will carry an infrared imager, a wireless communications link and Global Positioning System software. Field soldiers will be able to assemble the five-piece plane on the spot, program the flight path, launch the craft with a flick of the wrist and view a real-time video image of enemy territory. The Marine Corps will hold field trials in the first half of 2002. Full-scale production of 1,000 units should begin by early 2003.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to All Access Digital.
  • All Access Digital {! insider.prices.digital !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The digital magazine, plus unlimited site access, our online archive, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    Digital magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.