A tiny remote-controlled aircraft modelled on an insect will become Britain’s latest weapon against terror.
The Dragonfly drone – which can fit in the palm of a hand – will spy on enemy positions and gather intelligence for the military and British agents.
It is inspired by the biology of a dragonfly, with four flapping wings and four legs to enable it to fly through the air seamlessly and perch on a windowsill to spy on terrorists.
The gadget could even fly into heavily guarded rooms full of jihadists and provide soldiers on the battlefield a picture of what is going on.
It is one of the futuristic pieces of kit currently being developed for the Ministry of Defence and the UK’s security forces as part of the MoD’s new innovation project.
A Star-Wars style laser weapons system which will be able to burn holes in enemy drones will also be added to the Army’s new kit.
Currently in development, the laser will target and defeat aerial threats such as drones or conventional aircraft from the ground.
The hugely powerful and accurate device will be able to attack the enemy in three ways.
For the most deadly impact, it would wipe the aircraft out by burning a hole in it and destroying its electronics.
It could also blind aircrew in the cockpit and force them to land.
Thirdly, the laser could be fired at the sensors on the aircraft and overload it with light so it does not work anymore.
The aircraft could still fly but it would not be able to fire missiles or drop bombs.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the MoD’s new innovation initiative would ‘help keep Britain safe’.
He said: ‘This new approach will help to keep Britain safe while supporting our economy with our brightest brains keeping us ahead of our adversaries.
‘Backed by a defence budget that will rise every year until the end of the decade, it will ensure that the UK maintains its military advantage in an increasingly dangerous world.’
A mobile robot which can detect chemical weapons is also being created.
It would be sent into hazardous environments where nerve agents and other toxic chemicals were feared to have been used and see what has been contaminated.
This would help protect soldiers from entering lethal areas.
The army will also be equipped with sensors that will use gravity to survey underground structures in minutes rather than weeks.
The device is currently in design stage but once it is built it will be able to help soldiers compile a picture of underground tunnels such as those being used by jihadists in Syria and Iraq.
Virtual reality helmets are also being designed which would enable pilots to train on the ground rather than in the skies using simulated air strikes.
The headgear would enable personnel to see aircraft, enemy personnel and vehicles appearing on the real surrounding landscape.
The Dragonfly micro-drone has cutting edge sensing technology enables it to gather intelligence in both the day and night.
Its sensors enable it to detect incoming objects and buildings enabling it to avoid obstacles at high speeds.
Their details have been released as the government today (FRI) launched a new defence innovative initiative.
The plan is aimed to gain an advantage for the UK’s defence and security forces.
An Innovation and Research Insights Unit will analyse emerging technologies and make sure the UK maintains its military advantage over other countries.
Companies and individuals will be asked to pitch to a Dragon’s Den style panel – backed by a fund of around £800milllion of 10 years.
The idea is to take more risks in backing ideas. The full launch of the initiative will be in September.
The MoD currently spends 20 per cent of its science and technology budget on so-called ‘disruptive capability projects’ aimed to shake-up the industry.
It pays for the development of the micro-drone, gravity sensor and laser technology.