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Photo above: FLIR Black Hornet III FLIR Systems

By Ryan Pickrell,Business Insider

  • The US Army has put in an order for Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance Drones, drone planes small enough to fit in a soldiers pocket.
  • Able to covertly and continuously cover the battlefield at ranges up to 1.24 miles for nearly half an hour, these tiny drones can send back real-time video and high-definition photos to the operator.

Pocket-sized drones are on their way to US Army soldiers, offering a better view of the battlefield and giving them a lethal edge over enemies.

The Army has awarded FLIR Systems a $39.6 million contract to provide Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance Drones, next-level technology which could be a total game changer for US troops in the field, the company revealed in a recent press release.

The Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System

FLIR Black Hornet PRS FLIR Systems

Measuring just 6.6 inches in length and weighing only 1.16 ounces, these "nano unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems" are "small enough for a dismounted soldier to carry on a utility belt," accordingto FLIR Systems.

These drones can provide situational awareness and beyond visual line-of-sight capability day or night at a distance of up to 1.24 miles, covering ground at a max speed of 20 feet per second.

The "nearly silent" combat systems can provide constant covert coverage of the battlefield for almost half an hour, transmitting both live video and high-definition photographs back to the operator.

A potential live-saving tool for troops

FLIR Black Hornet PRS FLIR Systems

FLIR says the drone's ability to covertly detect and identify threats will save the lives of troops in combat.

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On its way to troops this year

FLIR Black Hornet PRS Monitor FLIR Systems

The new drones "will give our soldiers operating at the squad level immediate situational awareness of the battlefield through its ability to gather intelligence, provide surveillance, and conduct reconnaissance," Army spokesman Lt. Col. Isaac Taylor told Task & Purpose.

The Hornets will first be delivered to a single brigade combat team, but they will later be sent to platoons across the various brigade combat teams.

Deliveries will start early this year, FLIR revealed in its recent press statement.

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