Pentagon seeks mini-weapons for new age of warfare.

A BQM-74E aerial target drone launches from the flight deck…

A BQM-74E aerial target drone launches from the flight deck of guided missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) during a missile exercise to provide defense training for U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet aircraft pilots Sept. 21, 2010, in the Pacific Ocean during exercise Valiant Shield 2010. Lassen was assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 and was forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Fire Controlman 2nd Class Roberto C. Ruvalcaba/Released)

Engineers in Simi Valley at AeroVironment Inc. are developing a mini-cruise missile designed to fit into a soldier’s rucksack, be fired from a mortar and scour the battlefield for enemy targets.

And in suburban Portland, Ore. Voxtel Inc. is concocting an invisible mist to be sprayed on enemy fighters and make them shine brightly in night-vision goggles.

These miniature weapons have one thing in common: They will be delivered with the help of small robotic planes. Drones have grown in importance as the Pentagon has seen them play a vital role in Iraq, Afghanistan and reportedly in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Read the rest of W.J. Hennigan’s article at the Los Angeles Times.

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