Russian weapons manufacturer Kalashnikov, maker of the ubiquitous AK-47 assault rifle, has unveiled a tiny drone that’s meant to destroy remote ground targets from a distance of up to 40 miles (64 km) away — by blowing itself up like a suicide bomber.
The “high-precision attack unmanned aerial system” dubbed KUB-UAV in a press release, was revealed earlier this month at the International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX), a major defense exhibition in the United Arab Emirates — and it could foretell the terrifying future of warfare.
“This is a very accurate and most effective weapon that is very difficult to fight with using traditional air defense systems,” said Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Kalashnikov’s state-owned parent company Rostec, in the press release as interpreted by Google Translate.
The drone can reach speeds of up to 80 mph (130 km/h) and stay in the air for up to 30 minutes.
The system could give troops on the ground a number of major advantages: the KUB-UAV is almost completely silent, and can carry up to 6.6 pounds (3 kg) of explosives.
The drone will also be sold at a relatively low price. To some, that means a new era of warfare. “I think of it as democratizing smart bombs,” Nicholas Grossman, a professor of international relations at the University of Illinois, told the Washington Post.
Death From Above
The concept is also a big deal because of Kalashnikov’s stature in the world of military weaponry: its iconic AK-47 has been around since 1949 and is still in active use across the world today.