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Surprising Science

World’s Smallest Spy Drone Is Flying In Afghanistan

The Black Hornet — four inches long, weighing 16 grams — is designed for use by a single soldier for remote photo and video capture.

What’s the Latest Development?

Earlier this week, the British Ministry of Defence announced that some of its troops in Afghanistan were making use of the Black Hornet, a “nano-copter” that, at 16 ounces and four inches, is being billed by its manufacturer as “the world’s smallest military-grade spy drone.” It consists primarily of a camera that can take pictures and record video, and is meant to be used by a single soldier “to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing,” according to Christopher Petherbridge, a sergeant with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force. The soldier steers the drone with a handheld device resembling a mouse, and receives data into a separate device. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Although the US military has several miniaturized drone models of its own, the Black Hornet is smaller than all of them. In addition, the personalized nature of the device makes it “a one-man intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance package,” unlike larger drones that supply data to groups of people. It’s still too early to determine how beneficial the Black Hornet is in battle, but it’s the latest step towards providing troops with even more specially-customized and flexible technology.

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Read it at Wired


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