U.S. Army designs new “grenade-launched drone system”

Soldiers using drones for reconnaissance usually want to fly as quickly as possible into the air and over target,media New Atlas reported. With this in mind, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory has designed a proposed new system that involves firing drones from grenade launchers. The device, known as the Grenade Launch Drone System (GLUAS), was conceived by inventors of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Yu Kang and John Geddes. A patent application for the technology was filed on Thursday.

In the system, the drone is folded up and stuffed into a capsule-shaped shell, allowing the user to fire from a 40mm grenade launcher into the target area. When the specified height is reached, the enclosure opens and falls, releasing the drone from the inside. The on-board battery poweres the motor, which rotates the rear propeller once the aircraft “suddenly bounces” (the blades of the propeller fold down for storage). The lift is provided by the parachute paraglider wing, while the two articulated short wings are folded at a predetermined air speed to act as a control surface.

The U.S. Army plans to require ground-based remote control of gluAS and real-time video to be transmitted to its users via on-board cameras. In theory, it should be 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) long, with a maximum altitude of 2,000 feet (610 meters) and a battery life of 30 to 90 minutes. There is currently no information as to whether a prototype has been built that is functioning properly.