FLIR to deliver more Black Hornet 3 micro unmanned aerial vehicles to US Army


FLIR Systems, Inc. on May 7, 2020, announced it has won an additional $20.6 million contract from the U.S. Army to deliver its FLIR Black Hornet® 3 Personal Reconnaissance Systems (PRS). The advanced nano-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will support platoon- and small unit-level surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities as part of the Army's Soldier Borne Sensor (SBS) program.


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U.S. paratroopers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, conduct training with the PD-100 Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. (Picture source U.S. DoD)


In January 2019, the U.S. Army awarded FLIR an initial $39.7 million contract for Black Hornet 3's to support the SBS program. The company is currently delivering those systems for fielding across the force.

Extremely light, nearly silent, and with a flight time up to 25 minutes, the combat-proven, pocket-sized Black Hornet PRS transmits live video and HD still images back to the operator. Its information feed provides soldiers with immediate covert situational awareness to help them perform missions more effectively. FLIR has delivered more than 12,000 Black Hornet nano-UAVs to defense and security forces worldwide.

"Black Hornet has proven to be a game-changing technology – a small package that can deliver a big edge on the battlefield," said Roger Wells, VP and general manager of the Unmanned Systems & Integrated Solutions business line at FLIR. "We're proud to continue supporting the U.S. Army's Soldier Borne Sensor program. Enabling warfighters with a full-range of integrated unmanned solutions, both in the air and on the ground, is a strategic objective FLIR shares with the military."

The FLIR Black Hornet PRS equips the non-specialist dismounted soldier with immediate covert situational awareness (SA). Game changing EO and IR technology bridges the gap between aerial and ground-based sensors, with the same SA as a larger UAV and threat location capabilities of UGVs. Extremely light, nearly silent, and with a flight time up to 25 minutes, the combat-proven, pocket-sized Black Hornet PRS transmits live video and HD still images back to the operator.

With a less-than 33-gram UAV, GCS with integral UAV containers, Black Hornet PRS is compact and requires minimal training. An upgraded GCS features removable mission data SD cards, increased processing capability, improved user interface, robust chargers, and enhanced vision-based navigation. Imagery is transmitted through encrypted data link with ranges up to 2 km to safely engage targets beyond visual line-of-sight. The world’s smallest and lightest, the proven Black Hornet PRS provides dismounted soldiers autonomous, mission-critical SA.

The latest Black Hornet 3, which FLIR Systems also calls the Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS), weighs less than a tenth of a pound and is just under seven inches long. The complete system comes with a docking station for two drones that keeps them protected when not in use, as well as a hand-held touchscreen device and a controller.


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