Raytheon’s two foot long laser-guided bomb could be on small drones within months

By End the Lie

Spc. Jeremy Squirres, with Alpha Company, 101st Military Intelligence Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, prepares a Shadow 200 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for launch at Forward Operating Base Warhorse, Sept. 22, 2004. Alpha Company, 101st MI, operates and maintains the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for missions in Baqubah, Iraq. (Image credit: DoD photo by Spc. James B. Smith Jr., U.S. Army)

Here’s a disturbing thought: small drones, perpetually flying overhead, not only armed with facial recognition and threat assessment technology but also two foot long laser-guided bombs known as “Small Tactical Munition.”

This incredible and quite disturbing advancement is so far along that a business manager for Raytheon’s missile division told AIN Online that they’re “just tweaking the software and running some environmental tests.”

However, this did not happen overnight. Indeed, this has been an experimental project over at Raytheon – one of America’s many war profiteering corporations – since at least 2009.

The precision bomb weighs in at less than one 10th of the commonly known Hellfire missiles carried on the similarly infamous Predator and Reaper drones, which have already been and are currently being used on Americans and will undoubtedly be used more frequently as time goes on unless radical changes are made.

It will be fitted to the relatively tiny AAI RQ-7 Shadow which has either a wingspan ranging from 12 feet to 14 ft depending on if they’re using the RQ-7A Shadow or RQ-7B Shadow.

In the case of the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Stalker which can be charged via ground-based laser in order to remain airborne, we do not know what the actual wingspan is, making it unclear if it could carry a similar payload.

That being said, if we know anything about the military and defense contractors, we know that they will find a way to put something deadly just about anywhere you could possibly imagine.

Either way, any drone this small being able to be able to carry a deadly payload is a quite troubling and significant step forward in the world of unmanned aerial warfare.

Interestingly, the Small Tactical Munition is not, in fact, the only contender for a weapons system on the Shadow.

Another possibility is the General Dynamics 81 mm 10-pound guided mortar, which is actually an 81 mm mortar outfitted with a GPS guidance kit and flight control kit.

Raytheon’s, on the other hand, weighs in at 12 pounds and uses a semi-active laser and GPS dual guidance system.

Another weapon, which is currently still in development, is the U.S. Navy’s “Spike” miniature missile. While Spike is actually being developed as “a very small and light-weight man-portable infantry missile,” although they do point out, “It would also be possible to use Spike as an air-to-ground armament for battlefield surveillance UAVs.”

The most troubling part of the growth of these types of weapons is that it would instantly increase the number of potentially deadly drones in the hands of the military and law enforcement.

The last thing our military and law enforcement agencies need right now is more weaponry.

Yet unsurprisingly, those pushing the technology are able to see a silver lining in this dark, foreboding cloud.

Wired’s Danger Room claims that slapping more bombs on smaller drones might not actually lead to a more deadly drone war, citing the smaller warhead which “kills fewer people than a larger munition.”

“This is relevant to the strict rules of engagement,” said J.R. Smith from Raytheon’s missile development group.

While this might seem true at first, one must note that simply increasing the number of missiles in the air at any given time will almost certainly increase the number of missiles fired, even if some of the missiles are killing less people than others.

Thankfully, Danger Room doesn’t seem to think that it is purely beneficial, calling it “a kind of deadly Moore’s Law,” after which they cite the Switchblade kamikaze drone.

Yet I see no good in this advancement, if you can even call it that. I see absolutely nothing positive about more people dying, no matter what the rationale. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think we need to continue building weapons for wars many of us now know are built on pure lies.

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