There’s something strange going on in Russia, where the creation of a tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance drone intended to resemble an incognito owl is being celebrated as a militarized innovation at one of the nation’s premier defense shows.
The avian robot, which was unveiled Tuesday during the Russian Defense Ministry’s annual military expo near Moscow, is equipped with a laser beam to assist in artillery and aviation precision, weighs in at about 11 pounds, can fly for upwards of 12 miles, and is capable of identifying targets at 10 meters away, the Moscow Times reported.
But at 10 meters, it is a relative certainty the drone’s target would also be able to identify an owl missing 70 percent of its face.
While its design was intended to be “menacing,” one look at the owl’s gaping mug and empty expression instead elicits feelings of early 2000s emo culture.
One could even go so far as to argue that Mr. Owl of Tootsie Pop commercial fame was more menacing.
Nevertheless, emo owl has arrived, soaring through the skies, repeatedly swooshing its hair out of its face to accurately track its prey while feelings of inner darkness and a soul plunged into the black abyss of a never-ending night cast doubts on its mission capability — and whether or not anyone will ever love it.
Could it report its findings back to Russian intelligence? Sure, but emo owl is not here to conform to the demands or norms of others.
Other, less emotional-looking birds of prey have also been considered for use as future drone designs, the report said.
The Cuban Owl Crisis is underway. Fly well, Hedwig.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.