Depiction of fictional "slaughterbots." Source: Youtube screen grab / Stop Anonymous Weapons

A special Pentagon anti-terrorism unit wants “kamikaze drones” or improved “loitering munitions” that hang around a target area until they spot a victim to destroy.

Patrick Tucker, writing for military website Defense One, says the weapon is part of an official wish list released last week by the US Defense Department’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, or CTTSO.

The US is already looking into specialized drones that can loiter on aerial patrol for 15-minutes before attacking a target. Defense One says the CTTSO wants one that’s even smarter.

“Current loitering munitions can’t hit things that are hiding behind walls and other obstacles, so CTTSO wants something that can outmaneuver an adversary’s best efforts to evade his fiery death,” Tucker wrote.

The prospective new weapon is expected to look like a cross between a tiny bomb and a helicopter. It’s expected to be smart enough to detect and identify targets hiding behind obstacles. The minuscule drones will presumably carry enough explosives to be lethal.

But the drone will not be an autonomous robot that decides to attack its target independently. It will be part of “a single man-portable platform” in which a human operator will have the ultimate say on whether to pull the trigger.

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