US military working on mini-drone gliders to help spy on the enemy

US military wants swarm of mini drones to help conduct reconnaissance.

Published Wed, May 20 2015 11:25 AM CDT   |   Updated Sat, Aug 8 2020 10:29 AM CDT

US Navy scientists have created a miniature glider drone, dubbed the Cicada, which is designed for its simplistic and disposable functionality. The small drone doesn't have an engine and features just 10 moving parts and costs around $1,000 - and could drop in price down to $250 each - seems like nothing more than a circuit board attached to a paper airplane.

US military working on mini-drone gliders to help spy on the enemy |

After being dropped from a drone, airplane or other form of aircraft, the Cicada drones can be assigned GPS coordinates. During a live test three years ago, the drones were launched from almost 60,000 feet and successfully landed less than 15 feet of their intended target.

The drones could be equipped with microphones and other tools, opening the door to multiple possible missions.

"The idea was why can't we make UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that have the same sort of profile," said Aaron Kahn, from the Naval Research Laboratory, in a statement to the AFP. "We will put so many out there, it will be impossible for the enemy to pick them all up."


An experienced tech journalist and marketing specialist, Michael joins TweakTown looking to cover everything from consumer electronics to enterprise cloud technology. A former Staff Writer at DailyTech, Michael is now the West Coast News Editor and will contribute news stories on a daily basis. In addition to contributing here, Michael also runs his own tech blog,, while he looks to remain busy in the tech world.

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