Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s both… US Army’s new micro-drone is disguised as a bird of prey

Until now, the big problem with surveillance drones is that – although they’re smaller than planes – they are quite conspicuous. Not so with the Maveric, an 80cm, 1kg micro-drone with folding wings that is designed to disguise itself as a large bird.

The drone has just been delivered to the US Army for operational use, after initially being developed in 2008. It features a retractable HD camera mounted on a gimbal for a wide field of vision, which is also capable of infra-red imaging.

Powered by a single electric motor, the Maveric can be prepared for launch in less than five minutes by a single soldier, and can fly for up to 75 minutes before needing a fresh battery. When the flight is up, the drone comes in to land and is caught in a net. Swapping battery packs takes just a few seconds.

The rise of micro-drones ushers in a new era of battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance. Whereas larger drones must stay at higher altitudes to remain undetected, the Maveric is able to pass closer to enemy targets before being spotted. The electric motor is inaudible at a distance of 100m.

The micro-drone comes in a 6-inch wide launch tube, which can be carried by one man or mounted to the roof of a vehicle. The wings are made from an advanced carbon-fibre composite which is flexible enough to bend around the body to be stored in the tube. The flexible wings also help it withstand high winds and poor weather conditions.

Made by Florida-based robotics company Prioria, the Maveric can reach an altitude of 25,000 feet and launch in gusts of up to 30 knots. It cruises at 26 knots (30mph) and has a top speed of 55 knots (63mph). 36 Maverics have been delivered to the Army, with no current word on further procurements.


Source : Yahoo

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