The US Army is giving soldiers a mall gadget that could save their lives, and change the face of war forever.
The Army is paying FLIR Systems $39.6 million to provide Black Hornet personal-reconnaissance drones that weigh just a little more than an ounce. According to FLIR Systems, the “nano unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems” are “small enough for a dismounted soldier to carry on a utility belt.”
The drones measure about 6.6 inches long and can fly at their maximum speed of 20 feet per second in day or night conditions for about 25 minutes, or up to 1.24 miles, The Western Journal reports.
“[The drones] will give our soldiers operating at the squad level immediate situational awareness of the battlefield through its ability to gather intelligence, provide surveillance, and conduct reconnaissance,” Army spokesman Lt. Col. Isaac Taylor told Task and Purpose.
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Unmanned drones have provided the military a means of reconnaissance and attacking power for years. British forces in Afghanistan used technology similar to the FLIR drones, which the French military will soon be outfitted with, too.
“We are proud to be selected by the U.S. Army for the SBS Program of Record. This contract represents a significant milestone with the operational large-scale deployment of nano-UAVs into the world’s most powerful Army,” said Jim Cannon, President and CEO of FLIR.
“This contract is a major win for the newly established Unmanned Systems & Integrated Solutions business division at FLIR and demonstrates the strong and urgent demand for nano-UAV technology offered by FLIR. Protecting U.S. warfighters with our unmanned solutions is a key objective for FLIR,” he continued.
Learn more about this new technology in the video below.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.