PD-100 Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle, United Kingdom

Black Hornet Nano

The PD-100 Black Hornet is a tiny unmanned air vehicle (UAV) developed by Prox Dynamics. The Black Hornet UAV allows armed troops to spy potential threats. The small, remotely-controlled rotorcraft helps to save the lives of front line soldiers.

The Black Hornet offers intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to armed forces in mission critical operations. The UAV gives access to remote locations and provides situational awareness in the battle field.

The development of the Black Hornet was initiated in April 2008. The drone went through several test flights and all kinds of tests before entering into serial production phase in early 2012.

The UK Ministry of Defence awarded a $31m contract to Prox Dynamics through Marlborough Communications for the delivery of 160 units of Black Hornets for its armed forces.

The Black Hornet is deployed in Afghanistan to meet the surveillance requirements of the UK Armed Forces. The UAV is also in service with the security forces of several other countries.

Prox Dynamics delivered 100 Black Hornet nano UAVs by early 2013.

PD-100 Black Hornet design

The Black Hornet is constructed of a rugged, plastic-moulded shell. The aerodynamic shape of the nano UAV withstands stormy winds. The tiny drone is fitted with three surveillance cameras concealed within its nose. The complete PD-100 Black Hornet system includes two UAVs and a base station.

"The Black Hornet offers intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to armed forces in mission critical operations."

The UAV has a length of about 100mm and rotor span of 120mm. It has a weight of 16gm including that of the surveillance camera. The total system excluding display weighs less than 1kg.

Black Hornet features

The Black Hornet is designed for easy transportation- the entire system fits in a soldier's pocket. A soldier can carry the entire PD-100 Black Hornet unmanned air vehicle system along with his gear.

The ultra-compact dimensions of Black Hornet enable the operator to use it in congested and threat-prone areas effectively. The system generates almost negligible noise, making the aircraft more stealthy and re-usable. The small UAV is readily available to fly and takes less than a minute for takeoff.

Sensors and navigation of Black Hornet nano UAV

The Black Hornet is installed with a steerable electro-optic (EO) camera capable of producing still images as well as live videos that are displayed on a hand-held device. The camera can be zoomed for clearer picture using the base station controls.

"A soldier can carry the entire PD-100 Black Hornet unmanned air vehicle system along with his gear."

The auto pilot system installed onboard the Black Hornet enables the operator to handle the drone in two modes. The drone can either be operated directly or can be programmed to go through a predefined path using the GPS system installed inside. The digital data link allows the operator to control the UAV within the line-of-sight range of 1,000m.

Power unit of Black Hornet

The Black Hornet micro UAV is powered by a very small rechargeable battery. The battery is designed to rotate both horizontal and vertical rotors installed on the drone.

Ground control station

The Black Hornet is controlled by an operator from the ground using a joystick-like device. The technology onboard the UAV enables the operator to control the drone from a maximum range of 1,000m.

The base station of the Black Hornet offers planning, execution and analysis services to the operator of the system. It includes display connections and system control connections.

Black Hornet performance

The Black Hornet can fly at a speed of 10m/s. It has a maximum endurance of 25 minutes.

Defence Technology

The Global Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Market 2011-2021

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