At the recent Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) conference held in Washington D.C., Teledyne FLIR Defense, a subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies, introduced its latest innovation, the Black Hornet® 4 Personal Reconnaissance System.
This latest device is a continuation of the Black Hornet series, weighing in at just 70 grams and is designed to provide improved covert situational awareness for smaller units. The Black Hornet 4 is equipped with a 12-megapixel daytime camera that boasts superior low-light capabilities and a new high-resolution thermal imager, producing clear video and image results for users.
Significant improvements have been made in the device's performance, with a flight duration of over 30 minutes and the capability to cover a range exceeding two kilometers, even in 25-knot winds. This is further complemented by new features like obstacle avoidance and an enhanced battery.
Distinct from compact quad-rotor drones, the single-rotor Black Hornet 4 UAV boasts minimal visual and auditory footprints, facilitating threat identification both day and night without alerting adversaries. Among its other capabilities, it can be launched in under 20 seconds, operates effectively in areas without GPS, and assists operators in quickly spotting targets that are otherwise out of sight. It can also provide real-time assessments of weapon impacts.
Dr. JihFen Lei, the executive vice president and general manager of Teledyne FLIR Defense, shared insights on the new release, stating, “Black Hornet 4 enhances the renowned features of its predecessor, the Black Hornet 3." Dr. Lei emphasized how feedback from customers and end-users was integral in refining the system, tailoring it to cater to soldiers who require immediate and precise intel, particularly during covert operations. She further asserted the forward-thinking nature of the Black Hornet 4, labeling it as "future-proof nano-drone technology."
The Black Hornet PRS systems have gained international recognition, with over 20,000 units delivered to defense and security units across 40 countries. Recently, the drones have been deployed in Ukraine, donated by the British and Norwegian governments, where they have demonstrated resilience and effectiveness in challenging conditions.
It's worth noting that the U.S. Army recognized the potential of Black Hornets half a decade ago, integrating them into their Soldier Borne Sensor program. Their trust in the technology is evident, as they've committed to orders amounting to over $125 million. Just this past July, Teledyne FLIR secured a five-year contract with the Army, valued at up to $94 million, for additional Black Hornet systems.