Air Weapons: Green Dragons For The Men In Green


March 3, 2016: In early 2016 Israel introduced Green Dragon, a lightweight UAV that is launched from canisters that can be carried by infantry or used from boxes holding 12 or 16 Green Dragon canisters. These boxes can be put in the back of a vehicle and launched by a nearby operator. The 15 kg (33 pound) Green Dragon is battery powered and has a two hour endurance. Green Dragon can operate up to 40 kilometers from the operator. The three kg (6.5 pound) warhead can be guided by the operator to the target with great precision (within a meter/three feet of the aiming point). The operator controls Green Dragon with a device about the same size as a tablet computer.

Green Dragon gives infantry their own air force and is similar to the U.S. Army Switchblade UAV systems sent to Afghanistan in 2009 for secret field testing. This was very successful and the troops demanded more, and more, and more. Initially, Switchblade was mainly used largely by Special Forces and other special operations troops. In 2011, after a year of successful field testing, the army ordered over a hundred Switchblade UAVs for troop use and last year ordered more as regular infantry units got their hands on it and demanded more.

Back in 2012 the U.S. Army and Marine Corps ordered hundreds of the new Switchblade micro-UAV/cruise missiles after combat zone testing proved so successful. Switchblade was developed for the army but the marines apparently noted the success that soldiers and SOCOM (Special Operations Command) had with this system and ordered them as well. Switchblade was very popular with troops in Afghanistan and with SOCOM in all sorts of places they won’t discuss in detail. Switchblade is a one kilogram (2.2 pound) expendable (used only once) UAV that can be equipped with explosives. The Switchblade is launched from its shipping and storage tube, at which point wings flip out, a battery powered propeller starts spinning and a vidcam begins broadcasting images to the controller. The Switchblade is operated using the same gear the larger (two kg/4.4 pound) Raven UAV employs. A complete Switchblade system (missile, container, and controller) weighs 5.5 kg (12.1 pounds).




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