Last week the American public was introduced to the PD-100 Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System at an Army Exhibition in Washington, D.C. This hand sized drone helicopter is classified as a NAV (nano air vehicle).
This tiny helicopter with camera is already in use by British troops. The US Army has been evaluating the system since February.
Weighing only 0.56 ounces (16 grams), the Black Hornet looks like a tiny toy helicopter. But it's really a nano-size piece of military hardware unlike anything on the battlefield today — experimental robot flies and hummingbirds not withstanding.
The PD-100 Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System, unveiled to the American public for the first time last week at the Association of the United States Army Expo in Washington, D.C., is a drone (actually, a pair of them) that a soldier can carry and operate as easily as he or she would a radio.
The unmanned air vehicle was designed for small units that required a quick, tactical "stealth" camera in the sky, said Ole Aguirre, vice president of sales and marketing for Prox Dynamics AS, the Norwegian company that produces the Black Hornet.
Prox Dynamcs was founded in 2007 by Petter Muren after years of work on microhelicopters. The company located on the outskirts of Oslo, more than doubled in size in 2009 to become the largest UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) company in Norway.
Designers and engineers are working to expand the range beyond 3/4 of a mile and are actively seeking a lighter IR camera to provide night vision.
For those new to the concept, review this video:
For what applications, beyond the battlefield, do you need this kind of capability?