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Israel to Arm Soldiers With Miniature Grenade Carrying ‘Suicide Drones’

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Inexpensive flying grenades bring drone technology to a ground war setting.

On Sunday, Haaretz reported that the Israeli army plans to deploy unmanned "Rotem," a Hebrew acronym for "attack and suicide drone," citing an executive at Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) who produces the drone. The fleet of cheap "suicide drones" can loiter in the air before being dropped on targets via a tablet app.

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The miniaturized drones will be able to carry grenades and a small camera, and are light enough to be able to be carried in an Israeli soldier military backpack. Unlike traditional unmanned aircraft, like the US Reaper which requires trained pilots and runways comparable to a fighter jet, the smaller and inexpensive suicide drones can be hand carried.

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The Rotem weighs some ten pounds (4.5kg) with suggested use being for soldiers to carry two in a backpack concurrently. The drone is a quadcopter (four-propellers) that can hover over a target area for up to 30 minutes.

The weapon is quiet and virtually undetectable, according to IAI, for up to 200 meters. The operator identifies the target and steers the drone before detonating the device’s two fragmentation grenades, destroying the drone in the process.  

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