US Army soldiers will soon be armed with these game-changing drones that fit in the palm of your hand

FLIR SystemsFLIR Black Hornet III, in hand.
  • The US Army has put in an order for Black Hornet personal-reconnaissance drones – drone planes small enough to fit in a soldier’s pocket.
  • These tiny drones, which are able to covertly and continuously cover the battlefield at ranges up to 1.24 miles for nearly a half hour, can send back real-time video and high-definition photos to the operator.

Pocket-size drones are on their way to US Army soldiers, offering a better view of the battlefield and giving them a lethal edge over enemies.

The Army has awarded FLIR Systems a $US39.6 million contract to provide Black Hornet personal-reconnaissance drones – next-level technology that could be a total game changer for US troops in the field – the company said in a recent press release.

The Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System

FLIR SystemsFLIR Black Hornet PRS.

Measuring just 6.6 inches in length and weighing only 1.16 ounces, these “nano unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems” are “small enough for a dismounted soldier to carry on a utility belt,” according to FLIR Systems.

These drones can provide situational awareness beyond visual line-of-sight capability day or night at a distance of up to 1.24 miles, covering ground at a max speed of 20 feet per second.

The “nearly silent” combat systems can provide constant covert coverage of the battlefield for almost a half hour, transmitting both live video and high-definition photographs back to the operator.

A life-saving tool for troops

FLIR SystemsFLIR Black Hornet PRS.

FLIR said the drone’s ability to covertly detect and identify threats will save the lives of troops in combat.

FLIR presented the new Black Hornet drones at last year’s Association of the United States Army expo in Washington, DC.

The Army is looking at a number of technologies that will allow soldiers to spot and even fire on enemies without putting themselves in harm’s way, such as night vision goggles connected to an integrated weapons sight that allows troops to shoot from the hip and around corners with accuracy.

Read More:
Soldiers will soon be much more deadly with new night vision that lets them shoot around corners and fire accurately from the hip

On its way to troops this year

FLIR SystemsFLIR Black Hornet PRS monitor.

The new 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.

The drones will first be delivered to a single brigade combat team, but they will later be sent to platoons across the various brigade combat teams.

Deliveries will start early this year, FLIR said in its recent press statement.

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