Norway and Britain are jointly supplying Ukraine with “Black Hornet” military micro-drones which can be used to spy on Russian forces due to their tiny size.
The drones can fit in the palm of your hand and are described by news site The Debrief as the “world’s smallest operational military micro-drone”, measuring approximately 4 inches by 1 inch from tip to tail with a 4-inch rotor wingspan, and weighing 16 grams. They are manufactured by Prox Dynamics of Norway, which was acquired by FLIR Systems in 2016.
This Norwegian-British drone package costs 90 million Norwegian kroner, or about $9.3 million, and includes drones, parts, transport and training equipment. It is financed by a British fund to which Norway has already contributed 400 million crowns.
A total of 19 NATO allies, including the US, UK, France and Germany, use Black Hornet micro-drones, according to The Debrief. The United States and the United Kingdom have used them in particular during special operations missions in Afghanistan.
The United States is expected to award a contract within the next 30 days to supply Ukraine with 10 larger, long-range Switchblade 600 suicide drones, according to a Monday Defense News report citing Pentagon spokeswoman Jessica Maxwell.
The drones were also part of a $775 million aid package sent to Ukraine in early August, which included howitzers, armored vehicles, missiles, artillery shells and ammunition. for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) which at the time brought total US assistance to $10.6 billion. since the start of the war in February.
Norwegian Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram described the micro-drones, used for reconnaissance and target identification, as “easy to use, robust, difficult to detect and particularly well suited for combat in urban areas. “.
Yahoo! reported that the micro drones have a range of 1.2 miles, a top speed of 11 mph and night vision. Although they have a maximum flight time of 25 minutes, The Debrief reported, the system’s two drones are housed, launched and recharged in a single ground station, so while one is in midair, another charges to the ground and allows military forces to surround areas for long periods of time.
Military units have the option of operating the Black Hornets via remote control or via pre-programmed destinations using GPS receivers and sensors.
“Norway and the UK remain committed to standing side by side with Ukraine,” UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement. “These state-of-the-art drones will help give Ukrainian troops a vital battlefield advantage as they fight to defend their country against Putin’s brutal and unprovoked invasion.”
No specific schedule for delivery of the micro-drones to Ukraine has been provided.