A defense company put a machine gun on a drone

Duke Robotics, a military contractor, has produced a video for their unique and uniquely dangerous new tool, TIKAD. This drone platform looks fairly basic – a custom multi-rotor drone with a chassis on the bottom to hold what looks like a stripped down machine gun, sniper rifle, or grenade launcher – but what it suggests about the future of warfare is pretty scary.

A gimbal at the bottom of the drone holds the gun steady as you aim and fire remotely via a video-capable control pad. All of this is possible with current technology and there have been examples of this kind of tech over the years, most recently with the Switchblade project. The technology is basic – I suspect DJI or a similar drone manufacturer could build this in a weekend – but it’s the target market and marketing that is the most interesting.

“TIKAD allows governments to utilize completely new capabilities against terrorist groups and reduce the number of deployed ground troops, and therefore, the number of casualties,” write TIKAD’s creators and they are currently raising funds to build more of these. In short, this viral video is essentially a massive marketing effort to support the company’s equity crowdfunding plan. After all, who doesn’t love a drone with a gun attached?

Duke is saying they are currently in testing with the Israeli army and they are also doing a sort of online crowd sale for investment which is why they produced such a titillating video. Given the current state of drone technology a product like this would be dangerous for use in real situations but with a bit of engineering and improvement you could have something that could launch from a distant location, move in for the kill, and then fly back. It could also, like so many drones on the market, explode when it hits a tree.

So take TIKAD with a grain of salt. This is an investment strategy, not a final product and, I suspect if it were that easy to stick a gun onto a drone we’d have something smaller than the Predator flying around. However if you want some good old-fashioned war footage with rendered drones flying in to destroy enemies of freedom, look no further than Duke’s video below.