The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is developing technologies that will enable Navy-relevant missions with the smallest practical Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs). The NRL Micro Tactical Expendable (MITE) air vehicle is a result of this research. MITE is a hand-launched, dual-propeller, fixed-wing air vehicle, with a 25cm chord and a wingspan of 25–47cm, depending on payload weight. Vehicle gross weight is 130–350g. Miniature autopilot systems, based on visual imaging techniques, are being developed for MITE. These will be used in conjunction with conventional autopilot sensors to allow the MITE to fly autonomously. This paper provides an overview of the MITE development, including aerodynamic design considerations, electric propulsion, and vision-based autopilot research. Also presented is a rationale for the development of control laws that can direct the behavior of large groups of MAVs or other vehicle agents. Dubbed ‘physicomimetics,’ this process can bring about the self-assembly of complex MAV formations, though individual MAVs have minimal onboard processing power and limited local sensing capabilities.