A new generation of drones designed to look like birds of prey is being marketed at armies across the world.
Sofía Alfaro Marco, branding manager of the Spanish company Expal, says its Shepherd-Mil unmanned forward observer (UAV) is so well camouflaged it can fly at just 100 metres (33ft) above the enemy without detection, compared with 1,000 metres for standard UAVs.
“Nobody can tell it’s a spy because it’s designed to the exact body shape and feather pattern of a eagle,” he said. “We can design it to look like any large bird, depending on the location of the client.”
The remote-controlled aircraft, which is fitted with state-of-the-art cameras, can automatically provide target location data to nearby mortars.
The drone, which costs about £1,000 and fits inside two briefcases, is being tested by the Spanish military, and Expal is in talks to sell it to several other countries’ armed forces.