Only a matter of time before they can laser paint the target … both on the battlefield and HERE in America.
What was born and raised in Scandinavia, loved by the British, and is still looked upon with a jaundiced eye by the Americans? No, not the latest incarnation of Ace of Base or ABBA, but the latest in military robotics: the so-called pocket drone. As reported by Fox News, our British allies have taken a Norwegian bit of technology and already successfully deployed the ultra-miniature spy helicopter to the battlefield in South-Central Asia.
Sporting a nom de guerre that sounds like a comic book hero, the “Black Hornet” is already making a difference for Her Majesty’s Armed Forces fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan. A product of Norway’s Prox Dynamics, the PD-100 Black Hornet Block II Personal Reconnaissance System is literally small enough to fit in the palm of the hand.
Armed with three separate cameras, the Black Hornet has proven to be more than handy in locating concealed in-close enemy troop concentrations. The Prox Dynamics official website touts their pocket drone as tipping the scales at an almost unnoticeable 16 grams, which equates for us Yanks to barely over half an ounce – the weight of three sheets of paper. Capable of whizzing along at a brisk 10 meters (10.9 yards) per second, the short-distance reconnaissance device has enough juice to stay aloft for upwards of 25 minutes.
Obviously interested in the European miniaturization of unmanned airframes, the U.S. Army recently announced on their official homepage that our Armed Forces are now actively developing our own version of the drone. But don’t expect the very official sounding Cargo Pocket Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance program, or CP-ISR, to hit the street any time soon for the American fighting man. The Brits have already proved the pint-sized surveillance system is a winner on the field of battle, but the CP-ISR is expected to still be in the research and testing phases at least through the rest of 2014.