Currently available MAV
are larger than DARPA's target platforms, but are already
backpackable and operated by a single soldier or a team of two. It
is designed to be fully autonomous – and require no special
expertise or support at the operational level, at the platoon or
battalion. The small drones are built to survive harsh conditions,
operate in difficult weather conditions and communicate with their
ground systems without the use of sophisticated directional links.
The small dimensions dictate the use of lightweight sensors and
payloads, based on miniature day or night cameras as well as
uncooled infrared systems. Datalinks are maintained as simple
systems, as the requirement is for short range operation (10km)
directly over the combat area, where enemy electronic
countermeasures are not expected.
The following elements
are discussed in this article: