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Miniature surveillance helicopters help protect front line troops

04 February 2013

The Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle measures just 10cm by 2.5cm and weighs a mere 16g, yet it provides troops on the ground with vital information and situational awareness.

Sergeant Scott Weaver launches a Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle from a compound in Afghanistan (photo: Sergeant Rupert Frere RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013)

The Black Hornet is equipped with a tiny camera which gives troops reliable full-motion video and still images. Soldiers are using it to peer around corners or over walls and other obstacles to identify any hidden dangers, images of which are displayed on a handheld terminal.

The new system - the size of a child’s toy - is carried easily on patrol and is capable of performing in harsh environments and windy conditions. It was developed by Prox Dynamics AS of Norway as part of a £20m contract for 160 units with Surrey based Marlborough Communications.

Sergeant Christopher Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Afghanistan said: "Black Hornet is definitely adding value, especially considering the lightweight nature of it. We use it to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset. It is very easy to operate and offers amazing capability to the guys on the ground."


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