FoxNews on July 26, 2014, reported in an artivle by Allison Barrie, that Black Hornet, the next generation of tiny combat drones, has arrived. Excerpts below:

Norway’s Prox Dynamics PD-100 Black Hornet Block II Personal Reconnaissance System is a tiny drone helicopter that can fit into the palm of your hand. The company says it is the world’s smallest operational unmanned air system.

Black Hornet is about four inches long and one inch wide. And this little guy is astonishingly light. It only weighs just over half an ounce – that’s like the weight of three sheets of paper.

The entire system, including two Black Hornets, a base station that can fit in your back pocket, a controller and a screen, weighs under three pounds.

There’s no assembly required. As soon as you take it out of box, it is ready to go and can reach top speeds of about 10 miles per hour. Its tiny size and speed are a key advantage because it makes the drone far more difficult for an enemy to detect.

Despite its size, the Black Hornet can spend approximately 30 minutes in the air.

The operator can pilot it, but you can also plug in the GPS coordinates and the drone can fly itself using auto-pilot.

Given its tiny size and lightweight, the company says that Black Hornet does not pose a threat to other aircraft.

Black Hornet is a very sophisticated military tool with three cameras tucked into a very small unit – a pretty impressive engineering feat.

On missions, Black Hornet can travel about three quarters of a mile and provide real-time live motion video back to the operator. It can also take HD photos.

During deployments in Afghanistan for example, the British Army uses Black Hornet to investigate terrain and locate snipers.

While it has been mostly deployed by forces in rural and rugged terrains, it can also be useful for built up urban settings as well.

As you’d expect by its name, Black Hornet’s design was inspired by insects. The early models were built in a way that looked more like insects than mini helicopters.

The latest Black Hornet, the PD-100 Block II, looks almost identical to the first one, but also incorporates big advances inspired by the feedback from forces.

Very popular with warfighters, the British military has reportedly invested more than $30 million on Black Hornets to support operations.

Beyond deploying for combat, Black Hornet can be useful for law enforcement, providing urgent situational awareness and search and rescue.

Each Black Hornet has a hefty price tag of $30,000 to $50,000, making it a very expensive toy for civilian enthusiasts.


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