Warplanes: No One Expects The Black Hornet


March 2, 2013: The British army has bought 160 Black Hornet UAVs for use in Afghanistan. These are tiny UAV helicopters (10 cm/4 inches wide and 2.5cm/inch high) that weigh only 20 grams (.7 ounce). They can stay in the air for 25 minutes on one charge and deliver pictures and video to a hand-held controller. The big breakthrough with Black Hornet is that it can handle high winds, which have always been a problem with very small UAVs. But Black Hornet is mainly intended for use inside buildings or other confined areas. Black Hornet is very quiet and it can hover. Top speed is about 580 meters a minute and the operator can be up to 800 meters away.

All this performance will cost you, as each Black Hornet costs $125,000. The manufacturer sees a civilian marker as well, from police and security firms plus industrial users who have to get a close look at dangerous situations. The troops like to use Black Hornet in combat situations, especially in urban areas where it can fly through a window or slowly up the side of a building to check out who might be inside. Black Hornet is so small and quiet that the enemy cannot detect its presence close by.

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