Kamikaze Drones – UPSC Prelims

Kamikaze Drones:
  • It is also called Switchblade drones.
  • These are small unmanned aircraft that are packed with explosives that can be flown directly at a tank or a group of troops that are destroyed when it hits the target and explodes.
  • They are called Switchblade because their bladelike wings spring out on launch.
  • The drones have the capability of going past traditional defences to strike its targets and also cost a fraction of what the larger counterparts do.
  • These small lethal drones are difficult to detect on radar, and they can even be programmed to hit targets without human intervention, based on facial recognition.
  • USA, Russia, China, Israel, Iran and Turkey all have some version of it.
  • Weighing just five-and-a-half pounds, including its small warhead, the Switchblade can be taken into battle in a backpack and fly up to 7 miles to hit a target.
  • The Switchblade has a feature that allows the operator to adjust the blast radius. So, it can kill the driver of a vehicle but not a passenger, for example. The weapon can be “waived off” up to two seconds before impact.
  • The Switchblade also has cameras that show a target seconds before impact.
  • The drone cruises at 63 miles per hour and provides “operators with real-time video downlinks for a centralised view of the area of operation”.
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