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US Army To Purchase, Experiment With Two ‘Black Hornet’ Nanocopter UAVs

Jen Judson

The US Army wants to buy two pocket-sized unmanned aerial vehicles with miniature cameras to experiment with in advance of a capability demonstration of nano UAVs for small units, according to a service spokesman.

The UAVs the Army wants are Black Hornets, tiny helicopters that can fit in the palm of a hand. The systems are made by Norwegian-based company Prox Dynamics AS. The service announced its intent to buy the two systems in a Jan. 29 notice posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website, which notes the company is the sole source for the technology.

While Prox Dynamics would not discuss any possible sale to the U.S. Army, the PD-100 Black Hornets are already in service with the British Army in Afghanistan, company spokesman Ole Aguirre wrote in a Feb. 4 statement to ITA.

“The major difference between the Black Hornet and all other systems is the extreme small size as the air vehicle weighs only 16 grams, thus being the world’s first operational nano system,” Aguirre wrote.

The procurement of the two Black Hornet UAVs “is one of the early steps of our recently initiated Cargo Pocket Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (CPISR) effort,” Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center spokesman David Accetta wrote in a Feb. 6 statement. The Black Hornets will be procured under the Research, Development and Engineering Command Foreign Technology Assessment Support program. The effort will feed into what he called the “Technology-enabled Capability Demonstration 1b Force Protection – Soldier/Small Unit.”

The goal of the program, Accetta noted, “is to develop an unmanned/unattended sensor that can be used at the squad level to collect imagery to improve soldiers’ situational awareness.”

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