Tech startup Anduril has developed the Roadrunner, a modular vertical take-off and landing jet drone. The company has also developed a variant called the Roadrunner-Munition or Roadrunner‑M, a “high explosive interceptor” that can carry a warhead and destroy airborne threats.
The Roadrunner drone can take off, pursue and destroy any airborne targets. If there is no need to intercept a target, the drone can independently maneuver and return back to base for refueling and reuse. As Anduril’s director, Chris Brose, said, “We’ve essentially created a fighter jet that lands like a Falcon 9 rocket.”
According to Brose, the drone was created in response to the emergence of fast-moving autonomous aircraft that can be produced in large volumes and at very low cost, posing a new type of threat. Unlike today’s other solutions and the legacy missile systems that preceded them, Roadrunner‑M is reusable.
“In my opinion, this is the first recoverable weapon that has ever been used,” Brose said. “The ability to deploy it and reuse it if you haven’t used it in a mission to kill another drone completely changes how operators can manage its capabilities.”
According to the company, there are several other important improvements over legacy systems — faster launch and take-off times, three times the warhead payload, 10 times the effective range and three times the maneuverability under g‑forces.
Roadrunner‑M is controlled by Lattice, Anduril’s AI-powered command and control software, or integrated into existing architectures.
The advantage for the operator: When faced with a fast-moving threat, the Roadrunner can immediately launch, photograph it, and then be signaled whether to engage or not. Because the drone can be reused and repaired, operators can operate without fear of losing an expensive drone.