Along with the commercial sector for drones, military drones have also started making headlines. Military drones are known to be greatly capable of offensive and defensive operations. Militaries around the world use drones for surveillance. However, most of the drones used by them are quite hefty and big. The Predator drone is one of the largest American drones. However, this norm seems to be changing with the introduction of nano-drones. Nano drones can be as small as a thumbnail to the size of a fist.

One of the smallest reconnaissance system

An Oregon based company named FLIR Systems just landed an $89 million contract from the French Defense Procurement Agency. This comes in support of the French Operational Pocket Drone (DrOP) program. The contract will deploy the FLIR Black Hornet 3, a small, unarmed, surveillance drone. In time, this drone will assist the French armed forces in tactical operations. Currently, the drone is in use in over 30 countries. The Black Hornet 3 is a part of FLIR’s Black Hornet Reconnaissance System.

The drone is equipped with electro-optical/infrared sensors. It can remain airborne for a duration of 25 minutes and can travel up to speeds of 25 mph. Also, the Black Hornet 3 has a range of a mile (1.6 Km).

“Black Hornet bridges the gap between aerial and ground-based sensors, provides the same situational awareness and threat detection capabilities as larger unmanned air and ground vehicles,” a FLIR statement noted.

A high-tech stealth technology

The Black Hornet 3 integrates with the FLIR VRS and includes a vehicle-mounted launcher. It can discharge several of the diminutive drones skyward while keeping troops out of harm’s way. FLIR also offers a model of the Black Hornet which can be used by a single soldier. The system will have a one-mile radius. Altogether, with the live feed being shared on a chest-mounted display. Additionally, the controller has been modified for single hand use to increase feasibility on the field. The entire system, comprising two aircraft, a video screen, and the controller weighs less than 3 pounds (1.3 Kg).


The chest-mounted display screen.

Watch the Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System at a 2017 expo: