Anubis Tactical MAV For Time-Sensitive Fleeting Targets

The Anubis Tactical MAV [Micro Air Vehicle] for Time-Sensitive Fleeting Targets is an Aerovironment project intended to produce a small missile that is able to proceed to the area in which its target can be found, loiter until the target is spotted, and then take out the target. It is described as a "non-line-of-sight munition with man-in-the loop target ID with very low collateral damage."

Anubis is apparently a Phase III program, which is military argot for a project that is close to maturity. It apparently is intended to instantiate a truly science-fictional scenario in which a would-be assassin need not even get within miles of his target. Once set into motion, the tiny missile would be able to loiter for short periods of time until the targeted individual appears.

This kind of technology meets Philip K. Dick's highest military standard for weaponry, which he described as N-e weapons in his 1965 novel The Zap Gun. "N-e" stands for "needle-eyefication", a weapon that is so precise it can take out a single individual.

...needle-eyeification was the fundamental direction which weapons had been taking for a near half-century. It meant, simply, weapons with the most precise effect conceivable. In theory it was possible to imagine a weapon - as yet untranced of by Mr. Lars himself, still - that would slay one given individual at a given instant at a given intersection at one particular given city in Peep-East. Or in Wes-bloc, for that matter...
(Read more about PKD's Needle-eyeification)

This kind of weapon was called a loitering micro-missile in Philip E. High's 1968 novel Invader on My Back:

As the troops left the city, the top guns of the leading guilds took a hand, and they knew their business: weapons with curved or variating trajectories, weapons which fired around corners, micro-missiles proceeding at walking pace until within ten feet of the target.

Fans of sci-fi movies will also recall the smart bullets, five-inch fire-and-forget self-tracking bullet-missiles from Michael Crichton's 1984 movie Runaway.

(Smart bullet dissected (see more pics))

"Jack, look at this. The back half is all solid propellant. Valves for directional control ... look, it's all electronic."

"You've heard of a bullet that has your name on it. Well, this one really does. And you can program it to go after a specific person."

If you'd like to know what it would feel like to be chased by an Anubis missile, take a look at this excerpt from a well-known sf movie.

From The Register; thanks to Winchell Chung at Project Rho for the tip and a great reference.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/5/2010)

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