One of the most useful products to hit the field in the last decade or so for combat troops have been unmanned aerial systems, or “drones.”
As the years progressed and technology improved, these flying cameras have gotten smaller, smarter, and much easier to use.
One system that’s made the cut is the Black Hornet “nano” drone from FLIR. A palm-sized UAS, the Black Hornet is a “set-it-and-forget-it” type surveillance platform that can be pre-programmed for a flight path and fits in the palm of your hand.
FLIR just got a $20 million purchase order for Black Hornet drones to equip more soldiers down to the platoon level.
According to FLIR:
FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) announced it has won an additional $20.6 million contract from the U.S. Army to deliver its FLIR Black Hornet® 3 Personal Reconnaissance Systems (PRS). The advanced nano-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will support platoon- and small unit-level surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities as part of the Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor (SBS) program.
In January 2019, the U.S. Army awarded FLIR an initial $39.7 million contract for Black Hornet 3’s to support the SBS program. The company is currently delivering those systems for fielding across the force.
Extremely light, nearly silent, and with a flight time up to 25 minutes, the combat-proven, pocket-sized Black Hornet PRS transmits live video and HD still images back to the operator. Its information feed provides soldiers with immediate covert situational awareness to help them perform missions more effectively. FLIR has delivered more than 12,000 Black Hornet nano-UAVs to defense and security forces worldwide.
“Black Hornet has proven to be a game-changing technology – a small package that can deliver a big edge on the battlefield,” said Roger Wells, VP and general manager of the Unmanned Systems & Integrated Solutions business line at FLIR. “We’re proud to continue supporting the U.S. Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor program. Enabling warfighters with a full-range of integrated unmanned solutions, both in the air and on the ground, is a strategic objective FLIR shares with the military.”
The award-winning Black Hornet is designed and built by FLIR in Norway. Deliveries will begin in late 2020.
We’ve actually seen the Black Hornet fly and tinkered around with it a couple years ago. And from what we could tell, it does what the makers say it can do.