Rogue 1 Is One Of The Marine Corps’ Newest Kamikaze Drone

Rogue 1 is being procured alongside two other types that are competing to give the USMC more robust man-portable loitering munitions.

byHoward Altman, Tyler Rogoway|
Rogue 1 the marines' new drone.


One of the Marine Corps’ newest suicide drones was unveiled at the SOF Week special operations conference in Tampa on Tuesday. Made by Teledyne FLIR Defense, Rogue 1 is a 10-pound, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) loitering munition with interchangeable warheads that can be recalled and recovered if an attack isn't issued or one is aborted.

Teledyne FlLIR Defense said it will deliver an initial order of 127 Rogue 1s to the Marines later this summer for testing and evaluation. The initial delivery order is valued at $12 million, or about $94,000 per drone.

Teledyne FLIR Defense senior marketing manager Shannon Jidas holds up a Rogue 1 drone at the SOF Week special operations conference in Tampa. (Howard Altman/staff )

In April, US Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) awarded three companies - Teledyne FLIR Defense, AeroVironment and Anduril Industries  - an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract worth up to $249 million under its Organic Precision Fires-Light (OPF-L) program. AeroVironment said its initial order was valued at nearly $9 million, C4ISRNet reported.

OPF-L seeks to arm Marines with easy-to-use, explosives-laden, man-portable loitering munitions, also commonly referred to as kamikaze drones. The Corps is also seeking launchers for these weapons on ground vehicles and uncrewed surface vessels. You can read more about the Corps’ move to a robotic future in the air, sea and ground in our recent story here.

Rogue 1 will allow Marines to conduct “precision strikes against moving and stationary armored targets, soft-skinned vehicles, and dismounted threats,” the company said. “An advanced fuzing system on Rogue 1 features a first-of-its-kind mechanical interrupt that allows the aircraft to be safely recovered and reused when targets are disengaged or missions are aborted.” Exactly why this is so novel isn't clear as this is a capability that does exist on other types.

The Rogue 1 loitering munition on display during SOF Week at the Tampa Convention Center. (Howard Altman/staff)

The drone has a 30-minute flight time, can burst to speeds up to  70 mph and strike targets up to six miles away.

It also features "electro-optical and FLIR Boson 640+ thermal cameras to deliver day/night long-range reconnaissance and surveillance," the company states. A "novel coupling between sensors and warhead in the gimballed payload enables extremely precise targeting."

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“We think Rogue 1 is going to be a huge advantage for Marines, SOCOM and other warfighters because of the flexibility that it offers with its modular warheads,” company spokesman Joe Ailinger told The War Zone on the SOF Week showroom floor.

It has an explosively formed penetrator (EFP) warhead, a full-width fragmenting warhead, and a training warhead. 

The EFP warhead is designed to strike adversary armor and the full-width fragmenting warhead its personnel.

“The training warhead is especially unique, because it allows troops to train on the drone without destroying it,” Ailinger said. “So you've got a lot of cost savings. Marines can conduct test missions, then bring it back and reuse it.”

The Marines are Rogue 1’s second U.S. military customer.

In 2022 Teledyne FLIR Defense supplied the first systems to U.S. Special Operations Command for evaluation under their Ground Organic Precision Strike Systems (GOPSS) program “and continues to deliver additional systems at present,” the company said. An initial batch was also provided to the Marine Corps Warfigthing Laboratory for testing as part of the IBX-30 exercise, according to David Viens, Teledyne’s vice president of U.S. business development, C4ISRNet reported.

As the war in Ukraine has proved, lethal drones in the hands of small, front-line units have been devastating to armor and troops on both sides. As the Marines eye a potential future peer conflict, the need for highly maneuverable kamikaze drones is only increasing. Yet one thing that Ukraine has proven is that quantity trumps quality when it comes to its particular frontline drone fight, which now rivals or exceeds artillery in terms of its impact.

While systems like Rogue 1 are clearly far more capable than what Ukraine is fielding en masse today, huge quantities could potentially be needed. So far, we have not seen that truly reflected in DoD procurement, although there are some aspirations that seem to get a partial grasp on this concept. Ukraine is looking to build or procure over a million first person view (FPV) suicide drones just this year. So the scale of just how many of these could be needed and how quickly, seems a bit detached from how the services are developing and procuring these systems today. Cost and the ability to rapidly manufacture these drones, especially without relying on parts from potential adversaries, all factor into this. But even the most capable man-portable loitering munition can only kill one target one time.

With all this in mind, it will be very interesting to see how emerging and promising systems like Rogue 1 evolve, both in terms of capabilities and producibility, as well as just how many the services actually buy and in what configurations.

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