The US Army is considering acquiring the Spike FireFly tactical mini-drone developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, according to a report by Breaking Defense.
Described as a “miniature electro-optical tactical loitering munition,” the drone was among the cutting-edge technologies demonstrated during Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment 2022.
Operators reportedly fired an inert FireFly munition at a simulated enemy sniper position during the two-day assessment.
According to Rafael vice president Gal Papier, at least seven infantry squads qualified to operate the system using inert rounds and an embedded trainer.
The report said that the US Army is now analyzing the drone’s overall performance and capabilities, with a final decision expected to be reached soon.
The FireFly Mini-Drone
Weighing less than five pounds (2.2 kilograms), the tube-shaped Firefly is intended for use by dismounted infantry, marines, and special forces personnel in urban warfare.
The system can carry a 350-gram (0.7-pound) warhead and uses coaxial rotor blades for vertical takeoff.
The munition consists of an advanced multispectral seeker, allowing the drone to detect, identify, and track “very agile” targets.
Rafael said that the FireFly can be used by a single operator and is suitable for military units struggling with data overload.
Maj. Pete Guo, one of the attendees at the expeditionary experiment, revealed that some British soldiers are envisioning scenarios where the FireFly mini-drone could help save lives.
He said that the technology can be placed ahead of soldiers during dangerous military operations, reducing the risk of exposing troops to enemy fire.
The mini-drone is already operational in Israel, particularly in missions against terrorists firing at Israeli soldiers from large buildings.