British military buys fleet of miniature drones

The British Army has awarded a contract for a company to build a fleet of pocket-sized, nearly silent drones.

FLIR Systems, Inc. has been awarded a $1.8 million to deliver Black Hornet 3 drones. The reconnaissance drones are being called combat-proven.

Units delivered under the contract will support platoon and troop-level surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. They also will be used in part for a test and evaluation of nano Unmanned Aircraft System capabilities to enhance fighters’ situational awareness on the frontlines.

The drone weighs just 32 grams and can fly up to 25 minutes at a time with a range of 1.24 miles from the operator.  The drone can reach speeds of more than 13 mph.  It transmits live video and high-definition still images to the operator. The company says that it provides soldiers with immediate covert situational awareness to help them more effectively complete their mission.

The company says the drone is able to navigate in GPS-denied environments.

FLIR has delivered more than 7,000 Black Hornets to military customers worldwide, including the U.S. Army.

FLIR will immediately begin to manufacture the drones in Norway and they are expected to be fully delivered within six months.