Japan has a new battlefield UAV.

The cylindrical robot is about 20 inches across. It houses a high-speed propeller system for propulsion, while four small wings allow it to move up and down and in every direction. The drone is equipped with high-power cameras and GPS tracking. It can fly for about 30 minutes at a time. (Link)

Kind of a meh design. The UAV resembles Honeywell’s XM156 Class I “T-Hawk” UAV for the US Army. Despite being developed after T-Hawk, the Japanese UAV appears inferior to its American cousin. The Japanese UAV is larger than T-Hawk, and has a 25% shorter endurance time. The placement of the camera/sensor module at the top of the Japanese UAV means it can’t look straight down.

Here’s a video of T-Hawk which gives a good overview of the capabilities and roles of small-unit hover UAVs. Note that the soldier giving the demonstration says that he would prefer T-Hawk have a longer endurance time than the 40 minutes it currently has.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 530 post(s) on Japan Security Watch