- The United Kingdom has developed a new drone devoted strictly to battlefield combat.
- The drone uses sensors and machine vision technology to detect targets.
- Once located, the drone can blast away at the target with twin shotguns.
The U.K. has developed a new fighting drone designed to help soldiers breach urban defenses. The i9 uncrewed aerial vehicle can navigate indoors, locate and identify targets, and then open fire with not one but two shotgun barrels. Like all weaponized drones, a human operator must make the decision to shoot or not shoot.
The drone, revealed by the Times of London, was developed for the British armed forces. The drone is meant to act as a breaching weapon, flying into a small room or house occupied by enemy troops and neutralizing them from within.
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Breaching operations are among the most dangerous in ground warfare. Ground troops must typically blow open a door and rush inside, shooting the enemy at point blank range. Casualties in such operations are typically very high, particularly for the first ones through the door.
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i9 allows a drone to do the most dangerous part of the job. With the new drone, British troops might break down the entry door with a demolition charge and then send the i9 in. Flying high and fast, the drone would outpace the defenders beneath it, identify them, and line up on an enemy target. The i9 operator could verify the targets are hostile and then authorize the drone to open fire.