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Elbit launches Lanius search-and-attack quadcopter

Elbit classifies the Lanius as a short-range loitering munition. (Elbit Systems)

Elbit Systems has unveiled a small unmanned quadcopter designed to locate, identify, and attack enemy personnel.

Based on a racing quadcopter, the Lanius is highly manoeuvrable and capable of flying inside buildings. The battery-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has a maximum take-off weight of 1.25 kg, a payload weight of 150 g, an operational speed of up to 72 km/h when flying outdoors, and an endurance of seven minutes, according to information released by Elbit. It can use Wi-Fi or software-defined radio communications.

The Lanius has an autonomous mode for take-off, navigation, and scouting. Using the images from its electro-optics and a simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) algorithm, it can gather data to build and update three-dimensional maps of its environment. This capability also enables it to identify doors and windows that it can fly through so it can continue scanning inside buildings.

Elbit said the system is also capable of autonomously identifying hostile humans, although insists an attack can only be conducted with the approval of a human operator. It has provided no details of the warhead, saying only that lethal or non-lethal payloads can be carried.

A promotional video shows one detonating behind a gunman firing from a window and another landing to wait for a person to walk through a closed door, at which point it rapidly approaches the target and detonates.

Lanius can be used as an individual unit or as part of a swarm using the Legion-X system – that Elbit launched at the Eurosatory show in June – for controlling multiple unmanned systems with minimal human oversight.

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