February 5, 2013 11:02 am
The British military has taken stealth to a new level. In Afghanistan, troops fly drones the size of a hamster. The Norwegian-manufactured machines currently rank as the world’s smallest military-grade spy drone, weighing just 16 grams and measuring at 4 inches long. Dubbed the Black Hornet, the sneaky little choppers carry just a steerable camera that takes still and video images, Wired reports.
British soldiers use the tiny drones to spy on insurgent firing points and survey exposed areas before moving in. The Black Hornet acts as a one-man intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance package, filtering information directly to the individual behind the controls rather than a company or supply chain of operators. In other words, the bot acts as as the remote-controlled eyes of a single soldier. Soldiers control the drone with a mouse-like device and view images on a screen akin to a Game Boy console.
The U.S. smallest drone, the Raven, can fit into a rucksack but is a giant next to the Black Hornet. From here, these little spy machines can only get smaller. The Pentagon’s already working on a drone the size of a hummingbird; perhaps soon we’ll see drones the size of honey bees or gnats.
More from Smithsonian.com:
Sign up for our free email newsletter and receive the best stories from Smithsonian.com each week.
No Comments »
No comments yet.