U.S. Army Designs 40mm Grenade Launcher-Fired Camera Drone

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) designed a new camera-equipped drone capable of being fired from a 40 mm grenade launcher.

There are two variants of the Grenade Launched Unmanned Aerial System, or GLUAS, one is a small, paragliding system with folding blade propellers and Mylar paragliding wings to help it stay in the air, and the other is a helicopter-style system that hovers on a gimbaling set of coaxial rotors. The patent for the new technology was filed last month.

Grenade Launched Unmanned Aerial System (GLUAS) Concept - U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL)
Grenade Launched Unmanned Aerial System (GLUAS) Concept. Photo by U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL).

The GLUAS is a small projectile, 40 millimeters in diameter, can cover a long distance with a gun-launching system. The drone is claimed to have a 2-kilometer range with a projected battery life that could top 90 minutes and is capable of operating up to 2,000 feet in the air.

After launching, the drone spreads its wings and soars at a fixed airspeed controlled by ground troops with a joystick or a handheld device. On the drone, a camera is equipped to provide a video feed to a ground station below.

The lightweight GLUAS drone is designed to increase Soldier lethality by giving them a bird’s eye view of the battlefield and will easily integrate into most kits carried by Soldiers in the field.

The new technology has widespread use in combat action, for example, on the mountain ranges of Afghanistan, if Soldiers found themselves under sniper fire, they could deploy the drone to check over the area and determine the enemy’s location.

ARL is part of the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command. As the Army’s corporate research laboratory, ARL discovers, innovates and transitions science and technology to ensure dominant strategic land power.

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