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Ear to the Ground

British Troops Use Tiny Surveillance Drones

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Posted on Feb 8, 2013
isafmedia (CC BY 2.0)

British soldiers in Afghanistan have been issued several drones known as Black Hornet Nanos, palm-sized unmanned aerial vehicles “that can scout around corners and obstacles for hidden dangers” and transmit live video and still images to a handheld controller up to half a mile away.

The images are taken with three tiny cameras inside the vehicle’s nose. Measuring just 4 inches by 1 inch and weighing a mere 0.6 ounces, the drone adds little weight and bulk to soldiers’ already considerable gear. It is manufactured by Prox Dynamics AS of Norway.

Regarding its capabilities, commanding officer Major Adam Foden, 53, told Mirror Online: “Black Hornet is a game-changing piece of kit ... the pictures it delivers back to the monitor are really clear and Black Hornet is so small and quiet that the locals can’t see or hear it.” Another soldier remarked that “it can zoom right up to somebody’s face and hold that frame for as long as is required so we can identify them without them even knowing it’s there.”

See the nano in action here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Jonathan Fincher at gizmag:

The Black Hornet Nano flies like a mini helicopter, but is stable enough to withstand harsh conditions and heavy wind. On a full charge, the tiny UAV can fly up to 30 minutes at a top speed of 22 mph (35 km/h), giving soldiers on the ground ample time to quickly survey an area. An operator can also use the control unit to pilot the drone directly or input a set of GPS coordinates for it to follow on its own.

… So far, the military has already stated the Black Hornet Nano has been a helpful tool for spotting enemy shooters and explosive traps in the field. The British Ministry of Defence has also noted that this is one of many new innovative gadgets planned for the coming years.

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