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SOFIC 19 – DefendTex Drone-40

The Drone-40 is the most amazing thing I saw at this year’s SOFIC. Made by DefendTex, it is a low-cost, programmable 40 mm munition, providing kinetic or ISR options.

The round is fired from the launcher in order to get it aloft. To attain flight mode, it deploys four helicopter-style rotors to stabilize, move, and provide lift for loiter.

It offers 12 minutes of flight time and/or 20 minutes of loiter time. Cruising speed is 20 m/s and range at optimum speed is in excess of 10km.

Payloads include camera, anti-armor, fuel-air, HE/frag, diversionary, smoke, counter-UAS,

With these mixed of payload types, Drone-40 can be used individually, paired, or as a swarm, to a variety of effcts. For example, a team could launch one or more ISR configured munitions along with a swarm of anti-armor payloads and loiter over an ambush spot, waiting for a vehicle column. With Multi-Round Simultaneous Impact mode, multiple effects can be acheived at once, depending on the types of payloads delivered.

(Army photo by SFC Teddy Wade, Army Materiel Command )

For those of you wondering why you need the M320 grenade launcher, it’s technologies like this. The M203 is simply no longer “good enough” because you can’t load these longer rounds into the launcher.

(USMC photo by LCpl Alexis C. Schneider, 2d MARDIV Combat Camera)

Australian manufacturer DefendTex also offers the technology in 12ga and 81mm form factors. Obviously, these come with larger or smaller payloads as well as different flight and loiter times.

27 Responses to “SOFIC 19 – DefendTex Drone-40”

  1. cimg says:

    WOW, talk about sci-fi on the battle field, this tech is really amazing

  2. mike says:

    That is freaking RAD. So many possibilities with that kind of range and flight time. This totally changes what the lone infantryman is capable of in the field.

  3. iceman says:

    They are going to make stacks on stacks $$$$$$

  4. Explosive Hazard says:

    Holy crap that is the by far the coolest thing I have seen posted in relation to SOFIC!

  5. Patrick Sweeney says:

    I sure hope our own Armor establishment is working on ways to scrub the skies clean of drones. It would be a shame to lose a battalion of new upgraded M1A2C Abrams tanks, at $5,000,000 each to someone who spent $10,000 per kill on a swarm of attack drones.

    • Joe says:

      Anti drone/ADA laser systems are about a decade away and will change the nature of warfare. When any flying weapon, morters, drones, smartbombs, you name it gets zapped out if the air, what happens next?

      A sci-fi book called Decisively Engaged by C.J. Carella has “swatters” as standard defensive equipment.

      An idea of what’s possible…

    • Fortem drone defense says:

      Check out

    • Your Drone Adversary says:

      It’s a target rich environment and your counter-drone tech is weak.

  6. Micah says:

    Mini Bombers for Skynet!

  7. Chris B says:

    Wow! And this came from the same company that now owns the rights to the metal storm technology that was developed about ten years ago and if they found a way to combine the two, there could be untold numbers of these launched in seconds. The possibilities of massive swarm offensive/ defensive operations just became limited by the imagination.

    Until this, I thought the 40mm Pike rounds were cool.

  8. Amazing Tech! Was just reading a book not too long ago in the not too distant future about fleets of drones doing the dirty work with the caveat the Chinese used encrypted coding in the manufacturer of the parts sold to us…

  9. Alpha2 says:

    Technology as related to warfare continues to amaze me at the endless possibilities that are out there. These are f’n cool!

  10. Howard says:

    Years ago I saw a RC car drone with camera that was launch able from a 40mm and controlled with a game boy like controller. This is a whole lot nicer.

  11. Hubb says:

    Drone-40 + Milkor = Mini-MLRS

  12. goat89 says:

    Very cool! low-cost and in 40 mm too. Nice combo. now to see whether it can withstand minor accidental abuse BEFORE it is launched haha

  13. Hodge175 says:

    We just did a live fire exercise and as the “weasel” I launched 16 lum rounds using a M320 in stand alone mode. The damage I could have done with rounds like this really make you think of so many possibilities. This could change platoon attacks and other missions on many levels.

  14. The welsh Druid says:

    All you need is some shooters sat on top of evert AFV with a couple of clay pigeon 12g’s ?soon solve THAT problem !

  15. Paul Joly says:

    Inspired by the 40mm ISIS drone bomber?

  16. Maskirovka says:

    This is cool and scary and amazing and I would like one dozen in chocolate to go. Thanks.

    See, this is the kind of thing the Mad Scientist Initiative should be looking for.

  17. EODMadBomb says:

    Definitely a Game Changer!
    Now if we can get the counter sUAS stuff under control and fielded.

  18. Torque says:

    What advantage gives the firing from grenade launcher if it can fly? Why not carry box of them and send them off convencionally? No troll, legit interest in answer.

    • SSD says:

      How much flight time is saved by launching them into the air and the general vicinity of where you want them?

  19. RedBaron says:

    Why not just launch from the hand? At 20m/S it will only take 20S to fly 400m downrange.

    If it has a 20mn duration it seems unnecessarily complicated to shoot it out of a 40mm M203 to save 2% of the mission time…

    • RedBaron says:

      I guess one reason would be to shoot it through heavy brush or trees before the props deploy. Still seems more Gee Whiz SciFi than practical to me.

      They will probably get a $300M contract next week for their new shiny.

    • SSD says:

      Looking forward to seeing yours on the market.

    • Sid01 says:

      Tactically, makes more sense, you can have one ready to go while on patrol rather than having to stop take it out, launch it and then get back into the FF.
      With this you can RTR at the same time, and still be ready to launch more.
      Carrying WUAS as a standalone item makes it more time consuming. Also if you are busy trying to get one out and launched you are drawing attention to yourself. With two or more on a sect or pl, it’s more difficult to figure out who’s launching what.

  20. Russell Roberts says:

    Just wondering if an IFF type system would be considered. A small forward operating base could send these up and take care of anyone outside their perimeter, which would be transmitting the proper code.