Title: The Black Hornet Drone: Why the Military Loves It
Drones have revolutionized warfare over the past three decades, offering global powers a significant advantage in the skies. However, when it comes to drones, bigger isn’t always better. The Black Hornet nanohelicopter drone, developed by Norwegian company Prox Dynamics AS, has caught the attention of armed forces worldwide due to its small size, maneuverability, and concealment capabilities. In this blog post, we will explore why the military loves the Black Hornet drone and its unique features.
The Advantages of Size:
The most apparent difference between the Black Hornet Nano and traditional drones is its size. Weighing only 16 grams and measuring less than 4 inches long, the Black Hornet is incredibly lightweight. This small size is advantageous for soldiers on the ground who already carry heavy equipment. The Black Hornet provides valuable surveillance capabilities without adding to the soldier’s burden.
The Black Hornet’s small size enables it to accomplish tasks that traditional drones cannot. While it may not carry the payload of larger drones, such as the MQ-9A Reaper, the Black Hornet Nano excels in personal aerial surveillance. It can be easily launched without the need for a large staging area and can pass through narrow spaces like corridors. This allows soldiers to deploy the drone quickly and precisely where needed.
Design and Features:
The Black Hornet is constructed with a sturdy plastic molded case, making it durable and capable of withstanding storms. It features three surveillance cameras housed in its nose, providing comprehensive situational awareness. A complete Black Hornet system includes two drones and a base station. The drone is controlled by a ground operator using a joystick-like device, with a range of up to 1,000 meters. It is powered by a small rechargeable battery, enabling a flight speed of 10m/s and a battery life of up to 25 minutes.
Compared to larger drones like the MQ-9 Reaper, the Black Hornet represents a considerable cost savings. While a single Reaper costs over $16 million, a Black Hornet unit costs just $195,000. This makes it an attractive option for tasks such as personal reconnaissance, where large-scale deployment is not necessary.
The Black Hornet has been deployed by armed forces worldwide, including the United States, France, Great Britain, Germany, Australia, Turkey, Norway, the Netherlands, and India. It has been used in various operations, including Operation Herrick in Afghanistan, where it provided valuable video and still images from enemy territory. The British Army had 324 Black Hornet Nanos in service, and the U.S. Marine Corps Special Warfare Groups also deployed the drone.
While the Black Hornet is currently considered too expensive for large-scale deployment, the military aims to expand its use on the battlefield. The Army is pursuing a small drone for individual squads through the Soldier-Born Sensor (SBS) program, with the goal of making the Black Hornet more powerful, cost-effective, and convenient.
The Black Hornet drone has captured the attention of the military due to its small size, maneuverability, and concealment capabilities. Its lightweight design provides soldiers with valuable surveillance capabilities without adding to their burden. With its ability to pass through narrow spaces and be deployed quickly, the Black Hornet offers unmatched maneuverability. While cost may limit large-scale deployment currently, the military aims to further develop and utilize the Black Hornet on the battlefield.