Mini drone gives UK troops extra eyes 06.02.13

British troops in Afghanistan are the first to use state of the art handheld nano surveillance helicopters.

The picture above shows soldiers using the Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle during an operation on the frontline.

Measuring just 4 inches by 1 inch, it provides troops on the ground with vital situational awareness. It 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 and the images are displayed on a handheld terminal.

This revolutionary 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.

Black Hornet was developed by Prox Dynamics AS of Norway as part of a £20M contract for 160 units with Marlborough Communications Ltd (MCL), Surrey.

Sergeant Christopher Petherbridge, of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Afghanistan said: “Black Hornet is definitely adding value, especially considering the light weight nature of it. We used 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.”

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said: “Black Hornet gives our troops the benefits of surveillance in the palm of their hands. It is extremely light and portable whilst out on patrol.

“Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems are a key component in our 10 year Equipment plan and now that we have balanced the Defence budget we are able to confidently invest in these kinds of cutting-edge technologies.”