The drone is also named after the insect Cicada.
Cicada is short for Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft.
The insect spends years underground before appearing in swarms, reproducing and then dropping to the ground dead.
Aaron Kahn, a flight control engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory said, “The idea was why can’t we make UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that have the same sort of profile. We will put so many out there, it will be impossible for the enemy to pick them all up.”
The UAV is designed to be cheaper, simpler and smaller than any robotic aircraft, but still it should be able to carry out mission smoothly in the battlefield.
The UAV would cost just thousand dollars and there is a possibility that the cost will come down to $250 a piece.
The Cicada is not having motor and has only 10 parts; it resembles a paper airplane. After it is dropped from a balloon, an aircraft or a drone, it glides to the GPS coordinates.
Three years ago in a test conducted in Arizona, Yuma, and drone was released from 57,600 feet or 17,500 meters. The drone flew 11 miles and landed 15 feet of its target in the test.
Drone can catch the speed of 46 miles per hour or 76 kilometers per hour when it is flying, and as there is no engine and propulsion system it is silent.
Daniel Edwards, an aerospace engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory said, “It looks like a bird flying down, it’s very difficult to see.”
Cicada has sensors and in the flight test it has send back weather readings for humidity, temperature and air pressure.
The tiny drone launched from air could glide over a battlefield to monitor enemy’s movements and actions. The drone will be used in swarms.
It can also have civilian uses which include weather forecasting etc.