Why it matters: Not even James Bond had the ability to launch a drone swarm from his decked out Aston Martin, but FLIR is bringing that upgrade to military vehicles. The Black Hornet 3 nano-drone now has a launch system that holds multiple drones capable of being launched in quick succession.
FLIR Systems has shared that its Black Hornet 3 nano-drones can be packed into a launch unit that allows for deployment of multiple units in rapid succession. The military-focused drones are used for reconnaissance and information gathering purposes.
Really small drones are nothing new, but having the capability to launch a drone swarm from a moving vehicle is a new step forward. The Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS) is currently the world's smallest unmanned aerial system weighing in at 2.87 pounds. The drone itself weighs less than 33 grams or 1.16 ounces.
The near-silent Black Hornet 3 carries both electro-optical and infrared sensors. It can fly forward up to 1.25 miles and communicate back to the operator through and encrypted data link. Even under windy conditions, this tiny drone can withstand gusts of over 20 mph. Although not very quick relative to other drones, the Black Hornet 3 is still reasonably fast for its size reaches upwards of 13 mph. Also consider that noise signature is a large concern making faster flight undesirable.
Attaching to the outside of tanks, armored personnel carriers, light utility vehicles, and just about any other vehicle you can think of, the Black Hornet vehicle reconnaissance system is ready to put eyes in the sky.
Today, more than 30 countries are using FLIR's Black Hornet PRS for battlefield insights. Aside from military use, first responders, SWAT teams, and law enforcement have been successful in gathering real-time information via nano-drones. Available as part of a battle management system, the Black Hornet VRS is only available to military, government agencies, and law enforcement customers.