The British Army has begun using some unbelievably small drones on the front lines in Afghanistan. At just four by two inches, the Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is small enough to fit in the palm of a child’s hand. It’s equipped with what must be an infinitesimally small camera, which soldiers use to surveil happenings on the ground before entering a potentially hostile area. It’s so small, in fact, that it can be used to peek around a corner before turning 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,” said Sergeant Christopher Petherbridge. “It is very easy to operate and offers amazing capability to the guys on the ground.”
The little guy can fly for up to 30 minutes at a time, and has a range of about a half a mile.
“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,” said Philip Dunne, the UK’s Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology. “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.”
Here’s a video of the drone in action.