|A soldier test launches a Switchblade drone.|
The system carries a much smaller warhead, which means that in addition to being precise it can also substantially reduce civilian casualties.
Collateral damage and civilian casualties have been a sensitive issue particularly for Afghans and Pakistanis who feel threatened by the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Hundreds of innocent bystanders have been killed over the years following attacks by drone aircraft. On the other hand, drone aircraft have made possible the elimination of high profile terrorists who have been hiding in hard to reach places. The use of these aircraft have also saved countless American lives.
The Switchblade drone is being developed by the AeroVironment firm which has been awarded a $4.9 million contract along with orders to have the drones ready as soon as possible. Officials are not saying how many drones have been ordered or when they would be deployed.
The California-based firm has also added that the drone can be recalled even after it has been ordered to strike a target. This feature is unique to this new system. No other weapons systems such as bombs and missiles, can be recalled once fired. This is a safety feature can help ensure that the military is able to strike their intended targets, and only those targets.