US Navy lab tests "disposable" microdrones that glide down from the sky


Originally published at:


I’m keeping it if I find one.


One step closer to the beautiful, omnipresent surveillance state that Cory’s always writing about!


before long they will be microscopic, and our surveillance will be absolute


Great; even more e-waste in the environment.


I just assumed we were already doing things like this.


Launching drones from drones - USN, you so meta.

11. Everything is air-droppable at least once.

From: The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries


We do. Look under the sofa.


My cat won’t let me


Exactly what I was thinking. They ought to at least use that corn-based bio-plastic they’re making bio-degradable shopping bags from nowadays.


Oh yeah, forgot to tell you: they are in on this.
Everything you have ever been suspecting about your cat(s) is true.





As opposed to the usual biodegradable stuff the US Navy tosses out



I totally agree.


I really need that vacation; I’m starting to be annoyed by everything and everyone


OK, it’s an updated dropsonde – the parachuted instruments we toss out of aircraft into weather systems. At last word, the atmospheric physicists here end up spending about $1000 on each one. They also spend a lot of time in custom P-3s over the Pacific. Money well worth it, BTW: a 25-year multiuniversity multimulti investigator study recently figured out what distinguishes tropical depressions that turn into hurricanes/cyclones from those that don’t.

However, the idea of flying over hurricanes and tornadoes is still basically insane. The high-velocity convection-driven winds over those suckers go up well past the tropopause, so you’re looking at U-2s for the altitude, and wings that big are going to be horribly sensitive to turbulence, of which there is lots even at their ceilings. If you use UAVs like NASA’s Global Hawk, they’re limited to altitudes where your chances of losing the (really expensive) bird are very high. I doubt you’ll have much luck getting funding for those. There have been attempts to fly high-performance fighter planes into those storms, and although officially there haven’t been any fatalities there also haven’t been any repeat volunteers, either.

Think about what it takes to make fighter jocks decide that the ride is too wild for them.


My first thought when I saw these was “guided cluster munition” - not quite as cheerful.

For some reason, though, I get a kick out of the stock Hitec servo sticking out the side.


There should be an award for most contrived acronym


Which branch of the US military do you think it will go to?



Love the backronym here! Also the servo to control the wing curvature is a nifty idea.

If the USN had these back in 2011 and they were fitted with appropriate sensors, might have been quite useful during Operation Tomodachi