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Drones that can change the calculus of war

by Afonso
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Suppose a missile is moving towards its target. And if you can’t hit it, it will come back by itself. It was said that the drone Roadrunner is an artificial intelligence (AI) made by the US company Anduril.

This drone is made by Palmer Lucky. In 2014, Patu Palmer created a virtual reality headset called Oculus to create discussion. Later he sold this technology to Facebook for 2 billion dollars. In 2017, he opened a company called Anduril and focused on making weapons. On November 29 of that year, Lucky announced that he would create a new type of weapon that had never been seen before. A few days later, he announced a missile-carrying drone called the Roadrunner.

Depending on the mission of the Roadrunner, its performance can be changed. It can be monitored by installing sensors. However, the company has emphasized on the Roadrunner-M. It is designed for drone destruction. It is also reusable. Most air-defense systems, including America’s Patriot and Israel’s Iron Dome, fire several missiles to destroy one rocket. It destroys unused ones. Roadrunners can communicate with each other while on the move. If one target cannot be hit, the rest fall back.

Anduril, the manufacturer of the Roadrunner, claims that the Roadrunner is superior to competing weapons. Its take off speed is also very high. It also has a larger payload with ten times the range. Anduril boss Brian Schimpf says the Roadrunner will be able to tackle the sophisticated drones of the future.

Israel’s Iron Dome can intercept small rockets. Patriot can intercept large missiles and planes. The Pentagon said Kayoty was developed for Group One and Two drones, which weigh less than 25 kg and fly below 3,500 feet. But the Roadrunner is designed for Group Three drones, which weigh around 600 kg and can fly up to 18,000 feet. An example is the Iranian Shahed-136 drone that Russia is using in the Ukraine war.

A unit of Kayo costs 1 lakh dollars. And the Roadrunner costs under six figures. Roadrunner has already been bought by US special forces. Anduril expects its prices to drop further as production increases in the future.

Source: Bloomberg, Economist, Los Angeles Times


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