U.S. Special Forces could soon be using drones the size of bugs that weigh a smidge more than half an ounce.
A Defense One report
details the program, which has PD-100 Black Hornet drones flying across the world. They have been in use for about three years by the British and other militaries.
Defense One witnessed the drones, which tip the scales at just 18 grams, at the National Defense Industrial Association conference.
The drones are launched from a utility belt and transmit video to a screen mounted to the chest of the operator. Data is stored on the utility belt.
The operator controls the drone with a joystick, and there is also an autopilot option.
U.S. Special Operations Command told Defense One it tested some of the drones, and now continues to look at the technology for future use.
Each drone system, which includes the belt, screen, controls, and the drone itself, costs about $40,000, reports Defense One.
MIT researchers, meanwhile, are working to develop an armor inspired by fish scales
. The goal of the project is to eventually replace the thick, heavy, and bulky armor worn today with a lighter one that moves and flexes with the soldier.
The U.S. military is also testing machines
that can test a suspected terrorist's DNA and return a result in 90 minutes. Called DNA readers, two are currently being tested on the battlefield.
"These things are downrange and we're spending a year gathering data — on the utility, on how well is it working, the match rate, how well are the operators keeping them up and running," Michael S. Fitz of U.S. Special Operations Command said.
Each of the DNA readers costs $250,000.
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