Small drones are lethal battlefield weapons. Soldiers can launch them from behind cover, then locate, identify, and engage a target several miles away without ever exposing themselves to the enemy. The grenade-sized warhead can destroy a light vehicle, and because it can attack from any direction – including a vertical dive – a drone negates most cover.
So armies want them. And in the case of existing lethal drones such as the Chinese CL-901, Polish Warmate, and Turkish XQ-06, some armies already have them. What's more concerning are groups like ISIS making their own improvised drones, like the one which injured and killed Kurdish fighters and French troops this week. It's for these reasons the U.S. Army must continually upgrade its drones to stay ahead of the game.
That's what's happening right now. Although the U.S. Army's Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS) will likely be a "program of record" in 2017, the companies vying for the contract are already making some big upgrades.