The United States military is developing huge flying aircraft carriers capable of launching swarms of “gremlin” drones to be employed for spy missions or destroying radars and missiles.

Two weapons companies have been contracted by the Defense Department to develop the drones, called “gremlins.” Tests on the drone system are expected to be conducted in 2019.

The Daily Star reported that the drones would be ejected from the back of a C130 and be capable of flying 500 miles to target areas prior to returning to the host aircraft. The gremlins will be equipped with bombs, radar and cameras.

The gremlins could be deployed high above the reach of enemy weapon systems and could be used up to 20 times. After a mission, a gremlin could be ready for redeployment in 24 hours. Should a gremlin not make it back to the host aircraft, it will be equipped with the ability to self-destruct.

The journal of the United States Naval Institute reported that each gremlin would cost about $700,000.

“Gremlins” was a term used during World War II to refer to imaginary mischievous creatures blamed for causing mechanical failures and faults on aircraft.

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