British soldiers in Afghanistan have started using mini helicopter drones for surveillance. The ‘Black Hornet Nano’ measures only 10×2.5cm and weighs just 16g.
BBC News reports that it features a tiny camera and sends images and video to a handheld control terminal so the soldiers can see past obstacles and around corners.
The small drones have been in use in the country since 2012, helping to identify potential dangers like enemies and explosives without putting lives at risk. The battery-powered Black Hornet can be easily carried on patrol and either piloted directly or programmed using GPS to follow a certain route.
The drones, which work in harsh and windy conditions, have a range of around 800m, a top speed of 22mph, and they can fly for up to half an hour. Sgt Christopher Petherbridge, of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Afghanistan, said:
We used it to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset. It is very easy to operate and offers amazing capability to the guys on the ground.