An Anduril Industries drone capable of carrying a warhead weighing 33 pounds scored direct hits on several targets during military testing in Utah, the company said.

Footage from the trials at the Dugway Proving Grounds showed an Altius-700M shooting out of a ground-based launcher, cutting through the air and then crashing into a mock SA-17 surface-to-air missile system, generating a large fireball and shaking the camera.

The September event — details of which were previously undisclosed — marked the first time Anduril engineers tested a live warhead on the Altius-700M, which can fly for more than an hour at a range of 100 miles. The company said all test objectives were completed and that the “system was accurate and effective against the chosen target set.”

Militaries and militant groups the world over are deploying drones and other robotic technologies to collect intelligence, augment targeting and wreak havoc from greater distance; their deadly application has now been on display for years in Eastern Europe and months in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The Army, in particular, has expressed growing interest in unmanned armaments, including loitering munitions and launched effects. The latter can be catapulted from larger aircraft already in the air or flung from the ground to detect, disrupt, deceive or destroy enemy assets. The Altius-700M is designed with larger, armored targets in mind.

Relatively cheap launched effects are thought to extend the eyes, ears and arms of a force, allowing it study and attack places otherwise considered too costly or dangerous.

An Anduril spokesperson declined to say who exactly is interested in buying the Altius-700M.

The Army in December said it successfully launched a different Altius variant from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. That testing at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, “yielded positive data” that will shape the endeavor moving forward, according to its announcement. The service in 2020 awarded 10 small contracts totaling nearly $30 million to mature technologies associated with launched effects. Among the winners were RTX, Rockwell Collins and Area-I.

Anduril acquired Georgia-based Area-I in 2021. Its customers included the Army, Air Force, Navy and Special Operations Command, Defense News reported.

The company has delivered hundreds of Altius drones to the U.S. government over the years. Smaller versions of Altius have also been committed to Ukraine as part of aid packages announced by the Pentagon.

Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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