According to thereports of Stars & Stripes, the U.S troops would be equipping some units in the field with small personal drones. Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division would be the first infantry Army battalion to employ pocket-sized drones at the squad level on their upcoming Afghanistan deployment.
U.S Troops with the Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat team were issued Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System this spring and provide training on how to use the drones, which resemble miniature helicopters. The 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment is planning to deploy the machines next month in Afghanistan, whereas some other elements of the brigade is to wait to see how best to leverage the system.
The hand devices are expected to become the standard kit and might add in the kit for units across the army. It will provide near real-time video which will allow soldiers to better survey their surroundings and detect enemies in combat. The US army initially acquired Black Hornets, made by Oregon-based FLIR Systems Inc for testing special units and drones back in 2016 and 2017.
The company later picked the trio of big contracts with the American, British, and French militaries this year. At the end of April, the 82nd Airborne’s 3rd Combat Brigade began training with the drones.According to Army Technology, the drones are specifically designed to help dismounted soldiers deployed on the battlefield, by allowing them to scout out nearby camps and look for enemy soldiers that they might not be able to see otherwise.
Anyhow, the company also launched a larger version for the sake of using vehicles like tanks. The drones are small just over six inches long, and weigh 33 grams, making it easy for soldiers to carry them while in the field. Each drone carries a pair of cameras and thermal imaging cameras, they can send live video and still images back to their operators. The drones can also fly on their own, have a range of 2 kilometers, and can fly for just under a half hour.
The army wants that these devices will become a standard piece of equipment for their soldiers. At a demonstration in Norway during a NATO exercise last year, a FLIR official said the drone weighs less than one minute and has a range of over a mile. Furthermore, wireless communication and data sent between the drone and its controller are encrypted to protect it from data breaching.
The first security Force Assistance Brigade was deployed to Afghanistan last year, It is set to become the second Army unit to receive Black Hornet drones later this year.