British troops deploy Black Hornet nano UAV
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that British troops have deployed the Black Hornet nano unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Afghanistan.
Black Hornet measures around 4 inches by 1 inch and weighs 16 grams; and is designed to provide troops with situational awareness via a micro camera that delivers full motion video and still images. Images are displayed on a handheld terminal, giving troops the ability to see around corners, over walls and other battlefield obstacles. The system is capable of performing in harsh environments and windy conditions.
The UK MoD has acquired the system from Prox Dynamics of Norway as part of a £20 million contract for 160 units with Marlborough Communications Ltd (MCL). As the prime contractor for the nano UAV project, MCL based in Horley, Surrey, will have ultimate responsibility for delivery of equipment, training, spares, publications, logistics and repairs.
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.’
Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, 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.’
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