The US Marine Corps has reportedly begun training with the Australian-designed Defendtex Drone40, a micro-unmanned system that can be launched by hand or from a 40mm grenade-launcher.
The Drone40 features a modular payload bay than can carry sensors such as full-motion electro-optical video cameras, EW systems, laser designator. It can also be configured with kinetic warheads such as a flash-bang or smoke grenades.
When launched, the 120mm-long 500g air vehicle deploys four rotors, and can fly for up to one hour at a range up to 20km from launch at speeds up to 20 metres/second. It is guided by GPS, is waterproof, and is recoverable when not carrying a kinetic payload. Defendtex says multiple Drone40 rounds can be quickly launched by hand or from a grenade launcher for use in a swarming scenario, with a multiple round simultaneous impact (MRSI) capability.
The USMC trial comes after the deployment of the system by the British Army in Mali in Africa, although the British reportedly employed only the hand-launched version.