The Army is moving forward with a plan to put pocket-sized drones in the hands of its dismounted soldiers by 2018.I can't even begin to state how awesome this would be for any urban type conflicts.
The service on March 1 requested information papers from industry on what technology might be available for what it’s calling Soldier Borne Sensors. The Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, has a preliminary set of requirements and plans to go back-and-forth with industry on what already exists or could become quickly available.
“We’ve had numerous studies as well as experimentation within our battle labs. We continue to see that soldiers are kind of lacking at the squad level for relevant information that’s immediately around them,” said Phil Cheatum, deputy branch chief of electronics and special developments at MCoE.
Unmanned aerial systems such as the Gray Eagle and Shadow, which are part of larger units, have improved situational awareness for the Army. But a squad trying to clear a city block or go over a hill can remain blind to more detailed and rapidly changing threats. A quickly-deployable SBS would give squads real-time ability to inspect its most intimate threats.The stats requirement is awesome:
• Max weight of 150 grams: The device should weigh less than a third of a pound and ideally fit into a cargo pocket to avoid adding any additional burden to soldiers already loaded down with gear.MOTHAX's blog
• Deployable within 60 seconds: Soldiers should be able to get it in the air quickly.
• A 15-minute flight time: The Army needs the SBS to stay in the air long enough to capture relevant information and, ideally, return to its operator.
• Capable camera: Cheatum said it should be able to detect a human-sized object within 50 to 75 feet with “90 percent probability.” The camera will provide soldiers a real-time feed.
• Wind tolerance of 10 to 15 knots: While such a small UAS likely won’t fly in rough conditions, Cheatum said the SBS should be able to operate in light winds.
• Range of 500 to 1,200 meters: With line of sight, the drone should be operable from a reasonable distance, with the ability to bring it home after gathering the intel.