A new system being tested by the United States military promises to meet the increasing threat of drone swarms and leave them as heaps of junk on the battlefield.
A functioning prototype of the Ballistic Low Altitude Drone Engagement system has been tested by the Army, according to the military branch’s website.
The system works by tracking and engaging targets that would be difficult to hit with manned weapons.
Using advanced sensors and cameras, BLADE can knock drones and other small targets out of the sky with an impressive range. According to the Army, the system can destroy targets within unaided visual distance of the operating soldier.
As part of the “smallest, most mobile dome of protection” for troops on the ground, this system can engage anything a traditional machine gun can.
While not a weapon itself, the BLADE is a set of technologies that can push a soldier’s armament to feats of superhuman accuracy and reliability.
“Anyone who has fired a machine gun knows how difficult it is to hit a moving target,” the Army’s announcement read.
“The radar and fire control software in the BLADE enabled it to hit a small UAS with a short burst of fire during an engineering test that the BLADE team conducted on prototypes in June at Fort Dix, New Jersey.”
With drones becoming increasingly cheap and accessible, it won’t be long before they become a battlefield staple.
Our own troops have experienced the benefits of the unmanned vehicles, but defense from swarms of the robots is shockingly lacking.
The BLADE system is the most basic part of the Army’s push for a tiered defense system capable of engaging everything from cruise missiles to mortar rounds. The concept would see several overlapping “domes” of coverage for troops.
Everything from surveillance robots to “suicide” drones packed with explosives would be turned into scrap metal by the BLADE system.
While the BLADE system has already proved itself in preliminary tests, there’s still a long way to go before this life-saving technology is mounted on infantry vehicles.
A final readiness test of the system will be performed later this year before funding is decided.
For soldiers on the ground facing the unmanned future of combat, this system comes as a lifesaver. Right now, it appears that it’s only a matter of time before the BLADE system is a staple of modern warfare.
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