CICADA: Navy drone flies like a tiny 'paper airplane'

The US Navy’s “CICADA”  drone program is producing lightweight disposable glider drones for field missions.
Source: Naval Research Laboratory
The US Navy’s “CICADA” drone program is producing lightweight disposable glider drones for field missions.

One of the U.S. Navy's newest drones is not a $20-million Predator-like machine, but a hand-sized glider that has no motor and is mounted with nothing more than a few sensors and a microchip, according to Agence France Presse.

The drone part of the Navy's CICADA program, which stands for "Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft." Unlike many of the drones the military currently uses, the machines have a simplicity that gives them many advantages—they are cheap to make, affordable to lose, and very difficult to see or hear in the sky. (Tweet This)

But they are still powerful in their own way. Once dropped from an aircraft, on-board chips and sensors guide the gliders to their destinations. In one test in Yuma, Arizona, drones dropped from almost 60,000 feet flew 11 miles on autopilot before landing only a few feet from their intended targets. They could be used in everything from spying to getting weather information, according to the article.

Read the full AFP story in Defense News.