Members of terror group ISIS are well into drones it seems, and they're not using them to take dramatic aerial footage of waterfalls and flocks of sheep to put on YouTube -- they're putting plastic pipes on the bottom, loading a hand grenade into it and flying it over their enemies to drop down some death.
That's some of the latest news out of Iraq, (opens in new tab) where forces are encountering and photographing (opens in new tab) these improvised drone bombers; some designed to deliver a grenade, others having their all-white consumer electronics shells geared up for one-off kamikaze missions.
They're using cheap off-the-shelf commercial models to do it all too, so it's going to be quite the hard thing to stop.
Or is it? Obviously aware of the possibility that we could be invaded by swarms of exploding drones controlled by a teenager in a black hooded top located several miles away, the US Navy has commissioned weaponry expert Raytheon to build (opens in new tab) a form of "smart bullet" that might be able to tackle such a small and agile foe.
Funded by DARPA with a specific request to create independently targeted bullets that can take out unmanned aircraft, missiles and boats simultaneously swarming a target from all sides at once, the programme wants to equip the US Navy with the means to blast a whole battalion of attacking UAVs out of the sky at once.
And it had better work, as they've come up with one of the best military acronyms yet -- MAD-FIRES, or Multi Azimuth Defense Fast Intercept Round Engagement System. They thought up the name first, no doubt about that.
The MAD-FIRES dream is to create a rapid-fire weapon that has the targeting precision of a guided missile and the firing speed of a gun, inventing an entirely new category of weapon to cope with swarming attacks from future bad people empowered by technology.
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