WALTHAM, MA—Concluding that their unmanned aerial weapons platform would now advance to the next stage of evaluation, engineers at Raytheon announced Thursday that they had successfully tested their new combat drone on mice.
“We’re pleased to inform the public that the cutting-edge Spider II drone has passed preliminary animal testing with flying colors, killing mice in all 100 of the 100 monitored trials,” Raytheon director of animal testing Judy Kirk said in a press conference at which she also outlined her company’s plan for live-fire, theater-realistic munitions testing on frogs, rabbits, and chimpanzees over the next 18 months before approving the Spider II for use on human beings.
“We simulated every possible operational condition, from inclement-weather stealth insertions in harsh desert and arctic environments to full-force mass-combat field operations, while equipping the platform with loadouts ranging from cluster bombs to laser-guided bunker-buster munitions to air-to-surface missiles. Even in tests involving strikes on multiple mouse elements, or ‘nests,’ in one deployment, we are proud to announce that all threat mice were successfully destroyed. It’s important to Raytheon that none of our drones see battlefield use unless and until we can claim, with all confidence, that they can kill whatever living being stands in their path.”
Kirk refused to address claims that the Spider II had repeatedly failed target-identification field trials involving simulated mouse schools and mouse weddings.