'Kamikaze' Mini-Drones Added to US Arsenal
'Switchblade' drone can fit in a soldier's backpack
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2011 3:55 AM CDT
The Switchblade "comprises a miniature air vehicle that launches from a small tube that can be carried in a backpack and operated by a single soldier."   (Photo: Business Wire)

(Newser) – There's a new drone about to join the American military's arsenal—and it's a suicide bomber. The "Switchblade," small enough to be carried in a soldier's backpack, is designed to hover in the sky before flying itself into a human target and detonating a small explosive, AFP reports. California-based firm AeroVironment has won a $4.9 million contract to supply the new drones.

The drone transmits video in real time, allowing a soldier to identify a target before dispatching him with the tiny aircraft, say its maker, which hails Switchblade as a way to kill suspected militants without taking out any innocent bystanders. "Flying quietly at high speed, the Switchblade delivers its onboard explosive payload with precision while minimizing collateral damage," the company said in a press release.