Watch Pentagon Footage of An F-16 Releasing A Swarm Of Micro-Drones In Midair

The tiny drones are designed to carry out secret missions.

General Dynamic F-16 Falcon in flight

The Pentagon recently released footage from last year by its secretive Strategic Capabilities Office of an F-16 discharging a small unmanned aerial vehicle through its flare dispenser while flying at 430 miles per hour. In the video, a canister jettisons with an attached parachute, the micro-drone bursts out, spreads its wings and commences independently flying.

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With mythological references, the Perdix (as the drone is known) was developed at MIT and is designed to swarm with its brethren to carry out secret missions. Of course, surveillance would be one possibility. Another might be as a low-cost alternative to Miniature Air Launched Decoys. It all depends what sorts of electronics they’re able to cram into the little one-pound vehicle.

SCO Director Roper shows off Perdix micro-drones
SCO Director Roper shows off Perdix micro-drones (Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Two years after beginning testing and $20 million later, the Perdix have been shown capable of finding each other midair and creating a swarm. In addition to dramatic airborne launches, they can also be deployed from the ground by hand or slingshot.

What will they actually do? For now, only the powers that be know. But since SCO’s Director Dr. William Roper refers to his team’s mission as creating “trick plays,” it’s sure to be something stealthy and fun.