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A new quadcopter may be a deadly harbinger of the future unmanned battlefield. The armed forces of Belarus have demonstrated a new quadcopter drone that can carry a tank-killing rocket launcher. The drone carries a RPG-26 single-shot rocket that is remotely fired by the drone operator. According to popularmechanics.com, the effectiveness of the drone as a tank destroyer is questionable.
The quadcopter shown in the video is carrying what appears to be a RPG-26 rocket-propelled grenade launcher takes off and fires the rocket at an unknown target.
The type of drone is unknown, but it appears to be a quadcopter capable of lifting of at least 7 lbs. Originally designed during the Cold War for Soviet ground troops, the RPG-26 is a simple tube with a firing switch. Inside is a short-range 72.5-millimeter rocket with a shaped charge warhead.
The RPG-26 can’t penetrate enough armor to take out an American M1 Abrams main battle tank. However, a rocket-firing drone could conceivably maneuver to shoot at the top or rear of a tank, where armor is thinnest. The RPG-26 could also be dangerous to lighter vehicles such as the M2 Bradley, Stryker combat vehicle, and the new Army Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV).
The drone appears to lack a useful aiming system and the video doesn’t even bother to show the rocket flying downrange. Ideally, a system like this would have a camera parallel to the path of the rocket, with an aiming point projected on the drone operator’s screen.