For as long as there has been warfare, there have been reconnaissance scouts, sent out to survey the scene and report back to their commanders about enemy troops, prevailing conditions, and more. That same information is as useful today as it’s ever been, although the technology has changed a whole lot along the way. Case in point? The Black Hornet Vehicle Reconnaissance System, a new unmanned nano drone which can be deployed — either solo or in a group — to find and identify threats along a planned military route. It can then feedback 360-degree elevated information in real time from a radius of up to two kilometers.
“A typical scenario is when an armored or non-armored mobilized combat patrol moves into an hostile urban environment, where they have little or no information on where the threat would come from, where the potential enemy would be hiding, and where they could be expecting an ambush,” Ole Aguirre, senior director of Unmanned Systems and Integrated Solutions at manufacturer Flir Systems, told Digital Trends. “By launching the Black Hornets from a safe distance before moving the patrol into an exposed street or alley, the NUAVs provide live video feeds in day or night conditions to observe rooftops, crossroads, dark alleys or even go inside buildings to seek out enemy snipers or assault teams.”
The Black Hornet can be launched from a special external mount, which can be attached to any military vehicle. This includes armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, and light utility vehicles. The mount holds three of the UAVs, which can be easily deployed with the touch of a button. Unlike other drones, the Black Hornet is designed to be silent, thereby not giving away its position while collecting intel on enemies or subjects of interest.
“The Flir Black Hornet VRS is designed to be integrated onto any vehicle, ideal for mounted Army, Marine, or special operations forces combat or reconnaissance teams,” Aguirre continued. “Key markets are the United States or NATO vehicle modernization programs, like the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Program or Stryker Modernization Program. It is also designed to meet key ISR capability gaps for small special operations units operating detached from larger combat support elements.”