The Naval Research Laboratory is working on the development of small, disposable drone aircraft. Once the CICADA (Close-in Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft) is ready to enter the inventory, each plane would be able to deploy miniature electronic payloads in a manner akin to “seeding” a cornfield. The nodes and sensors would be distributed in enemy territory in a programmable geometric pattern, thus providing valuable information about hostile movements without putting U.S. service members at risk. Designed to be produced cheaply, 18 CICADAs would fit into a six-inch cube. Once deployed, they are designed for stable flight. The program has been in existence since 2006.
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