Northrop Grumman is currently developing the Jackal suicide drone – a turbojet-powered ‘sprint’ loitering weapon system designed to bridge the capability gap between the current propeller-driven suicide drones and the need for “tactical kinetic, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and electronic warfare missions.” The project is a collaboration between Northrop Grumman’s Internal Research and Development (IRAD) with AeroVironment – the manufacturer of the Kamikaze Switchblade 300 and 600 drones.
The Jackal will be able to be tube-launched from either air or ground platforms, and fly up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) or 15 minutes at a maximum speed of 483 kilometers (300 miles) per hour. Its hovering time increases with shorter flight distances, and it can fly up to 185 kilometers (115 miles) at lower speeds. As it will utilize low-level flight parameters – along with the ability to fly waypoints – it will be able to operate day and night and in adverse weather conditions. It will be capable of targeting both stationary and moving targets.
The drone will be equipped with a two-way data link and an integrated dual electro-optic/infrared sensor. Its scalable architecture will accommodate a range of payload weighing a maximum of 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds), which can consist of “warhead, electronic warfare suite, or intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.”