By Dialogo October 20, 2011 The U.S. Army has signed a contract for the purchase of small, portable unmanned planes capable of successfully destroying a target by launching themselves against it and activating built-in explosive charges, announced the firm that built the weapon. In late June, the U.S. Army reached an agreement for $4.9 million with AeroVironment to acquire these aircrafts, dubbed “Switchblades,” as quickly as possible, the manufacturer said. The aerial device will weigh less than two kilos (approximately 4.4lbs) and can be transported in soldiers’ backpacks. To launch it, the device is expelled from a tube and opens its wings. The unmanned plane hovers in the air with the help of a small electric motor that transmits video images captured by its small built-in camera, enabling a precise view of the target, the firm explained in a statement. Upon obtaining images of the objective thanks to live transmissions from the plane, the operator can confirm whether the target is the one intended, thereby avoiding collateral victims, the manufacturers and the Army affirmed. The device then takes aim at the target and crashes into it, thereby detonating the explosive charge it contains. Once launched, the missiles fired by Predator and Reaper planes cannot be diverted from their objective, and the explosion cannot be cancelled. The Switchblade can not only be used as a remote-controlled weapon, but as a reconnaissance device also.
Riding a modest three-game unbeaten streak, the Wisconsin men’s soccer team will try to put out the fire of the blazing-hot University of Illinois-Chicago team Thursday at the McClimon Soccer Complex.While the Badgers are putting together a solid season (4-3-2, 1-0-1), having just battled to a scoreless draw at Michigan State Sunday, it is their opponent that is receiving national attention.A sleeping giant to begin the season, UIC was not on the radar of the NSCAA national rankings. But in less than a month, they have catapulted into the top 10 nationally and are just one of a handful of teams that remain undefeated (7-0-2).In its nine matches, UIC has posted six shutouts and outscored their opponents 18-3. The Flames have held their opponents scoreless for 354:46, dating back to a 1-1 double overtime draw against Cal Poly on Sept. 10.Not only has their defense smoldered the opposition to begin this season, the Flames’ front line torches teams with regularity, as well.”Their front six, in terms of their midfielders and forwards are very, very good,” Wisconsin head coach Jeff Rohrman said. “They’re right up there with the likes of the forwards we’ve seen at SMU and Washington. They’re good enough individually to burn you if you make mistakes.”UIC is led up front by two of its prolific scorers, senior strikers Tonci Skroce and Eric Cervantes, who have combined for eight goals and 20 points on the season. For his terrific play — two-goal, five-point performance — against conference rival Detroit last Sunday, Cervantes was selected to the Soccer America College Men’s Team of the Week.”Both [Skroce and Cervantes] are very dynamic,” Rohrman said. “Tonci’s a little bit bigger size … he’s good in the air. I mean, they’re very skillful and they play with a lot of flair. Both of them can get good rhythm when you allow them to play, and they like to play off of each other.”One of the tasks for the Wisconsin defensive line will be to break up the flow of the game by closing the gaps and really shutting down the passing lanes.”We just have to be sure that when balls are played into their forwards, we challenge those balls, we contest those balls,” Rohrman said. “We can’t allow their other guys a lot of time and space to pick people out and make things happen. We have to work hard defensively, shift as a group very well and just know that when passes are made, we have to apply pressure on the ball. If we do that, we’re a pretty good defensive team.”Even with the added pressure of facing a top team like UIC, Wisconsin plans to stick to play within its team and individual abilities and not worry about what the other side is doing.”I think we’re going to keep everything the same,” senior defenseman Aaron Hohlbein said. “The last couple games, we’ve done quite well, beside a few specific moments in games, so I just think we’re going to stick to our original gameplan.”Despite not scoring a goal against Michigan State and facing a team known for its strangling defense, Rohrman believes that, with a bit more focus, his offense can get it done and put some points on the board.”We just need to have a better concentration — a little more focus in around the box and maybe be a little bit more selfish, little bit more aggressive in there,” Rohrman said.”We certainly have to do better in the box, but we are a good possession team and now we just have to put the icing on the cake.”