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Handheld Black Hornet Nano Drones Issued To UK Soldiers

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the palm-of-your-hand dept.

The Military 97

cylonlover writes "Drones have become a valuable asset for any military force in recent years for both combat and surveillance. But while scanning a warzone from miles away is great from a tactical standpoint, unmanned aircraft can be just as useful in the hands of troops on the ground. That's why British soldiers in Afghanistan have been issued several Black Hornet Nanos, a palm-sized UAV that can scout around corners and obstacles for hidden dangers. Each UAV measures just 4 x 1 inches (10 x 2.5cm) and weighs a mere 0.6 ounces (16 grams), making it easy for troops to carry along with the rest of their gear. A built-in camera transmits live video and still images to a handheld control unit at a range of up to half a mile (800 meters)."

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Too light (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42829849)

The wind. It blows.

Re:Too light? Not at all (5, Informative)

Terje Mathisen (128806) | about a year ago | (#42830021)

Read the article: One of the main selling points of this tiny little helicopter is the fact that it is actually very stable even in high winds.

Remember that it was developed here in Norway where we have quite a bit of "inclement weather", i.e. it has to be able to handle both wind, dust and some rain.

Re. the excessive cost: This will obviously come down a lot, and even if the main article didn't say so, each kit contains multiple drones: The mil-spec controller is probably far more expensive to manufacture than each drone.


Re:Too light? Not at all (1)

r33per (585447) | about a year ago | (#42830565)

Re. the excessive cost: This will obviously come down a lot, and even if the main article didn't say so, each kit contains multiple drones: The mil-spec controller is probably far more expensive to manufacture than each drone.


And, I would imagine, cheaper than repatriation and medical costs - not to mention the lost cost of training etc.

Re:Too light? Not at all (1)

sacrilicious (316896) | about a year ago | (#42832097)

the excessive cost: This will obviously come down a lot

How is it obvious the cost will come down a lot?

Re:Too light? Not at all (1)

Terje Mathisen (128806) | about a year ago | (#42833309)

You have to separate 'cost' and 'price':

The price will of course stay as high as possible (i.e. whatever the military is willing to pay), while manufacturing cost will come down now that they have made & debugged the design.


Re:Too light? Not at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42834955)

Seeing the size of the little copter really surprises me how stable it must be in flight on windy days. My Syma IR copter is impossible to fly outdoors even on days I'd consider to be relatively calm. I can't image the power the motors this thing must have and battery tech used to power the whole thing. Compared to my toy that takes 1 hour to charge for 7 minutes of flight time.

Re:Too light? Not at all (2)

zarmanto (884704) | about a year ago | (#42835439)

... My Syma IR copter is impossible to fly outdoors even on days I'd consider to be relatively calm. ...

I have a similar IR toy copter, and I'm surprised you've been able to successfully fly it outdoors at all. The package of mine specifically states that it's not intended for outdoor use, and flying it indoors into a bright stream of sunlight coming through the front window of my house demonstrated very clearly why: the sunlight apparently obliterates the IR signals. My copter promptly became uncontrollable when it went into the sunbeam. As long as I kept it out of that sunbeam, all was fine.

Too light AND too expensive. (1)

gentryx (759438) | about a year ago | (#42838453)

At least Germany military experts [google.com] doubt its efficiency in bad weather conditions (link is to a Google translated site as the original article is available in German only, sorry). I'd say their expertise weights more than the argument they're from Norway so they'll be alright.

Also, at 144k€ per unit this seems ridiculously expensive.

Re:Too light (4, Informative)

Dr Max (1696200) | about a year ago | (#42830337)

I fly a walkera genius (it's a tiny bit bigger http://www.helipal.com/walkera-hm-genius-cp-v2-helicopter-2-4ghz-value-edition.html [helipal.com] ) and it handles the wind exceptionally. Wind i couldn't fly an rc plane in, the little chopper barely gets disturbed. I think it's due to being such a small surface area, plus those little motors have surprising amount of power. If any one wants to try this at home you can also buy 1 gram camera and transmitter modules http://www.fpvhobby.com/143-sub-nano-combo-set.html [fpvhobby.com] ; it'll only run for 8 minutes or so (not like the 30 this uk military one does) but the genius is fast and it's full 3d cyclic pitch (fly it upside down if you can handle it).

Re:Too light (1)

bluescrn (2120492) | about a year ago | (#42830385)

I was quite surprised to see that this military model is a heli, was expecting a quadcopter, they're mechanically simpler (easier to repair!). Micro-sized toy/hobby-grade quads (e.g. Walkera Ladybird, Hubsan X4) are pretty impressive these days, I'm sure with a military hardware budget they could be made even better...

30min battery life is impressive though, compared to toy/hobby gear, where 5-8mins is about all you'll get out of something on that scale.

Re:Too light (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | about a year ago | (#42830449)

The quads are defiantly easier to fly. Even with all the gyros the genius has it takes a bit of skill/practice to fly right (luckily they are so light you can cut power at pretty much any height, crash, and it'll usually come out unscathed, depending on the surface it hits). Downsides to the quads is they aren't as good in the wind, bigger, and not as efficient.

I Found a nice video of a mini cp (also from walkera, very similar to the genius) setup with a mini camera http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtL2kqQhEfA&playnext=1&list=PL5DD8DBE964939570&feature=results_video [youtube.com]

Re:Too light (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830657)

I'm wondering how they managed to get stability and 3X battery life in something that looks like a glorified Air Hogs Havoc. (That's a Picoo Z to the rest of the world. It's much closer in size to the drone than the Walkera or whatever.)

Usually I find that by the time I get the yaw trimmed out, battery is half-dead already. The slightest air currents can make that sucker go wild. Also the stock controller needs the lift/throttle spring to be removed in order to be reasonably usable.

Re:Too light (1)

zarmanto (884704) | about a year ago | (#42835541)

I imagine the extended battery life is one of the reasons for the standard copter design, instead of the quadcopter design. Size is almost certainly another factor; they want to minimize the space that these little drones take up in a rucksack, as much as possible.

Re:Too light (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42830877)

I'm having trouble believing the "16g" part of this story.

a) It doesn't seem possible - equivalent civilian 'copters with smaller batteries weigh 30-40g.

b) Even if it's possible, why bother? They claim it's "to make it easy for troops to carry" but an extra 30g isn't going to break anybody's back (plus the controller looks like it weighs a kilo...)

Re:Too light (1)

zarmanto (884704) | about a year ago | (#42835583)

More weight also affects battery usage and efficiency. I'd imagine this little non-toy copter is very carefully engineered to balance the weight against the battery life. You wouldn't bother to put such engineering weight behind something manufactured to be a toy... but I wouldn't be too terribly surprised if the tech in these drones eventually makes its way to the toy market as well.

Re:Too light (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42831699)

Product placement. He's even linked to a hobby store.. cmon...

Re:Too light (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | about a year ago | (#42832581)

Because it has all the specs and videos. I don't work there its just where i got my stuff from.

This is real?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42829851)

I thought this was some video game fantasy!

And they are cheap... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42829865)

At £125.000 ($200.000) each they are a steal. :-)

Re:And they are cheap... (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#42829893)

Relative to the cost of a soldier [cnn.com] this seems reasonable, assuming British soldiers have a similar cost.

Re:And they are cheap... (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42830267)

That's not the point. The point is that my local toy store sells something very similar for £16.

Re:And they are cheap... (4, Informative)

oobayly (1056050) | about a year ago | (#42830367)

What, you mean one of the polystyrene upy-downy lefty-righty helicopters that are barely controllable indoors and where the blades fall off if you land slightly badly. I had one of those, it was a bit of a laugh but it was lacking the following features:

1) A copter which uses a secure (DDL) network, capable of transmitting over 800 meters
2) GPS navigation
3) High quality, stabilized, pan-tilt, and mechanically zoomed video
4) 30 minutes battery
5) Carbon-fiber propellers
6) Super-quiet operation
7) Waterproof
8) Hover and stare, preprogrammed search routes
9) Base Station
        Mission Planning, Execution and Analyses
        Display connections, Functions and System Controls
        Storage of Mission Data including Video and Images
        Connections to PC, Network and other Peripherals
        UAVs housed inside for Protection and Support

List stolen from Phyvel Lavine's comment under TFA

Re:And they are cheap... (3, Informative)

bluescrn (2120492) | about a year ago | (#42830423)

Take a look at the Walkera Ladybird (~£100) or Hubsan X4 (~£50). These little quadcopters are surprisingly good for toys. Things have moved on from those crap polystyrene 2-channel IR-controlled helis

Add a cheap camera system, and you could still have hundreds of them for the price of one mil-spec system. Although the military version does look very impressive, it's probably overkill for looking around corners/over obstacles :)

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#42831701)


This thing is aimed for certain missions. Missions like catching unaware enemy in the house by mapping their house and defenses from inside with something they are unlikely to even notice.

You noisy big toy will tell everyone with a gun that there's an attack coming. Oops. You saved a few k on costs of your recon drone and you lost a squad to alert enemy ambushing you.

But it was cheap.

That is the reason why military hardware is generally more expensive. It has extremely stringent requirements, and lives actually depend on it working exactly as intended.

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42832527)

And they are willing to pay those prices. Military equipment is often just overpriced, because it can be. Go ask some folks in the Military they will tell you.

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

Stalks (802193) | about a year ago | (#42832997)

You perked my interested with a £50 helicopter. My son has wanted one for eons but any worth their salt seemed to be far too expensive.

Then I read this on the Hubsan website:

"Keep it away from children. Carefully read the instructions before any use. If you are beginner, it's advisable to be assisted by an experienced helicopter pilot."

Anything for a beginner without training?

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#42835233)

I had one like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNqcYIHGaPM [youtube.com]

Worth the money- more stable than the earlier ones. It's not that fragile BUT it will still break if you crash it too hard. The plastic ones are lighter and may perform better than the metal ones.

What I suggest you do is get your son started on one of those cheap mini remote control _cars_ first e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOp8We420Lc [youtube.com]
Once he can master 2D, then only let him try 3D. Otherwise it'll just be frustrating for both you and him.

The issue is learning how to control something from the perspective of that something rather than yourself. Or even just mastering basic hand eye coordination. Not everyone is a natural at these things.

And after that, be prepared to buy more than one heli ;). They don't last that long anyway - the li-po battery doesn't last much more than 1 year. But they're cheap and they are a fair bit of fun for the money.

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

bluescrn (2120492) | about a year ago | (#42843149)

If you're even vaguely competent at videogames, and comfortable with a dual-stick game controller, you can learn to fly these micro-quads easily enough.

Just don't fly too high/fast to begin with, and start by just practicing 'tail in' hovering (keeping it facing away from you). If you start to lose control, just kill the throttle and let it drop to the ground - they're so small and light that they'll be unharmed by most falls onto carpet or grass.

As for safety, unlike larger RC helis/quads, these little quads are fairly harmless. Those tiny propellors sting a bit if they hit bare flesh, but as long as you don't fly it straight into somebodys face at full throttle, there's not much chance of anybody getting hurt.

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42830447)

You can get most of that on a top-end $100 civilian model, available in most toy shops.

Add $50 for a miniature GPS receiver and a few hundred for a super high tech 30-minute battery. The rest is mostly software.

Help me out here, I'm having trouble figuring out where all the millions went.

Re:And they are cheap... (4, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#42831569)

Show me a 16g heli with 30 minute flight time, stable in high winds, camera that _transmits_ live video (think battery life again), and can follow GPS coordinates (think yet more battery life).

Provide a link to one that's less than $1000. Otherwise you can figure out where all the millions went.

I've seen interesting civilian/toy helis: e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3WBUVYZkODI

But none have specs anything as impressive as _claimed_ in the article. It does make me wonder whether the claims are all true. If it's true it's pretty impressive tech. In fact it actually is not far from some of those Sci-Fi stuff.

I've got toy helis, and without all those specs, they are toys.
8 minute flight time
requires pilot intervention in high winds.
no GPS
adding live hi-res video = even shorter flight time.
Not water proof (my guess is the drone is waterproof or it'll be a major oops ;) ).

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

IronChef (164482) | about a year ago | (#42836413)

I was instantly suspicious as well. The item in the photo looks like a bad mockup, like that Iranian jet.

- It has one rotor, and a tail rotor. A coaxial unit would be easier to fly. Flying fixed-pitch or collective pitch model helis is hard to learn! OK, maybe it has an amazing autopilot and stability control. Or maybe operators just have to put in the time to build skill.

- The rotor disc looks pretty small, out of proportion to other models I am familiar with. Proves nothing and I am not a helicopter designer, but...

- The listed run time and speed imply battery technology that is about 10x as good as you can get with hobbyist grade lithium polymer batteries. Is there a light battery available anywhere, at any price, that can store power 10x more densely than the lipos used in model aircraft? Add in the GPS, autopilot, and the long video transmission range and you really seem to be talking about magic, not batteries.

I bet the specs on this thing are BS, if it flies at all. But even a drone that can only fly short distances for short durations could be incredibly useful for looking around corners. And that sort of performance is available dirt cheap these days, so I am sure we will see more stories like this.

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

Elijha (2805781) | about a year ago | (#42838759)

Fuel Cell? would make it quick to "recharge" in the field too?

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

IronChef (164482) | about a year ago | (#42885431)

A fuel cell would definitely make for a quick recharge. I don't know beans about state-of-the-art fuel cell technology but I still suspect that the fuel cell itself would be too heavy for the stated specs.

However, the energy density of a typical fuel cell consumable, like methanol, IS a lot higher than a lithium battery.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_methanol_fuel_cell [wikipedia.org]

Then again, this source states that the efficiency of such a fuel cell is also quite low.

So, maybe. Good idea though, I did not think of that.

Re:And they are cheap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830731)

I think you've just been successfully trolled

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

kenh (9056) | about a year ago | (#42831793)

2) GPS navigation

Please explain to me how they fitted a GPS receiver chip and antenna array in a 16 gram drone, along with a video camera, transmitter, and power source for all the above.

Re:And they are cheap... (3, Informative)

toopok4k3 (809683) | about a year ago | (#42832467)

Think of any new smartphone, but without all the plastics around it and that huge screen.

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#42832021)

The specs are so amazing I do wonder if they are true.
All that and only 16g. Not easy to even get a high quality video camera+transmitter that weighs much less than 16g.

Of course for some perspective, you can compare the specs with a dragonfly or hummingbird to see there's still much progress to be made in some areas ;)

weight about 1-3grams
fully autonomous
self refuelling, self manufacturing.
maximum speed about 30+kph.
nonstop flight - more than long enough for me:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/dragonfly-1.html [nationalgeographic.com]
http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8149000/8149714.stm [bbc.co.uk]
Some even fly at altitudes up to 6000 metres
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantala_flavescens [wikipedia.org]

weight : 3-4 grams typical, 8 grams max fuel.
nonstop flight - 800km with full fuel load.
flight speed max = 50-80kph

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#42831665)

Right. And it probably sells something very similar to an AK-47 too.

The difference is that one is a toy and one is far more useful in a battlefield.

Re:And they are cheap... (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42829959)

This just in: short production runs of 160 pieces have an expensive per-piece cost.

Tooling and R&D aren't free, buddy.


Re:And they are cheap... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830035)

Weeeell... the prototypes were made during lunch breaks and partly from styrofoam coffe cups taken from the cantina in a location close to Oslo, Norway. Of course that's not what's being sold, what's being sold is a rugged and thoroughly tested ability.

If you think the production run was limited to 160 you are as we say over here "ett fjols" ;)

I'll even throw in a source in Norwegian from last May (use Google translate or some such), enable e24.no for loading the pictures/slide show:
http://e24.no/naeringsliv/her-er-norsk-forsvarsindustris-nye-eksport/20208610# [e24.no]

Anonymous Coward forever!

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year ago | (#42841321)

More than likely a significant part of that cost was paying tool&die makers to tool up, as the poster above mentioned. Four-slide and stamping prototyping is especially expensive. Like for a stamping press die: to put out a part with just a few bends and with VERY basic sensing (thru-beam sensor to check for part-ejection, a progression sensor (hysteretical proximity sensor) and 2 prox sensors) you're looking at ~$13k minimum. Plus the cost of a cad designer (not including the cost of a solidworks+logopress seat which they will already have) and CNC programmer to plug the G code in to the PLC so it knows what to do with the sensors. Add on another grand or so for some shadow VII light curtains with a control box. Add in the cost of an electrician to wire the light curtains to the PLC, and wire the PLC/part feeds into the press console. God forbid they don't already have a control/feed package on it! Then you need a $1500-2500 smartPAC, possibly an autosetPAC (or other high-end tonnage monitor), and possibly a wintriss solid-state clutch control (just shy of $10,000) to achieve a very high SPM (doubtful with this low volume.) Then a resolver, and a specially made sprocket with a "key+hole" cut in it, and the list just goes on. Go browse wintriss's website sometime. Oh and the cost of the press operators, and the cost to run the presses themselves. Electricity, whey oil, elite red grease, etc, etc. At least that's what they'd do if they want a lot of them. If that's the case, then the per-unit cost probably isn't very high, especially as far as military hardware goes.

Re:And they are cheap... (1)

magpie (3270) | about a year ago | (#42830049)

This just in: short production runs of 160 pieces have an expensive per-piece cost.

Paying off our establishment mates aren't free, buddy.

-- BMO


Re:And they are cheap... (1, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42830381)

If only there was a civilian product they could have used as a starting point for development. Oh, wait..

Cool (0)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year ago | (#42829921)

Before the aspbergers show up with their negativity... This is fucking awesome! And $200 thats it? Ive seen model airplanes that cost 2-3x+ that. Scouting with this thing, I would think, many lives will be saved. Well not the brown people's lives (the ones being shot at.)

Re:Cool (1)

peted56 (1842988) | about a year ago | (#42829931)

Thats $125k each actually.

Re:Cool (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830151)

First of all, its 125000 GBP, not USD, second, that's the cost for 10 years of maintenance.
Meaning, that for 10 years, they'll repair and replace those drones, which will undoubtedly get damaged pretty frequently in a combat situation.

Re:Cool (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about a year ago | (#42830475)

Looks like good skeet shooting. Remind me to get stronger mosquito nets.

Re:Cool (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year ago | (#42841207)

Sorry the guy above me whose post is now gone had said $200. Now it seems rather obvious he meant $200k, but I thought it might have been designed as cheap and disposable...thus cheap. A lower cost version of this (I can't believe I'm about to say this) for the FBI, SWAT teams, certain PD precincts, etc would be incredible! Maybe they have some kind of cheap plastic airplane with a live-stream camera mounted that I just haven't heard about. It makes me sad that DHS has drones and a lot of public servants who actually do positive things don't. A tiny, cheap ($12-1300) as standard issue for swat team members, or at least team leaders (I don't know anything about ranking) could save a lot of lives. Even the perp's lives if it allows for a previously-impossible non-lethal takedown. Just saying.

Re:Cool (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year ago | (#42841225)

Oh Bartles nailed it! I saw the periods, and I'm a culturocentric bastard I guess. I actually didn't know that was a thing in other places. Bartles possibly prevented me from future foreign charges of surprising magnitudes.

Re:Cool (1)

felixrising (1135205) | about a year ago | (#42877321)

Lets not forget, its pretty easy to crash a heli in ideal conditions, so I can imagine them losing more than a few even in non-combat conditions. It also contains a GPS and probably high accuracy barometer which enables "loiter" style flight based on a set of GPS coordinates, probably also pre-planned way-point drone style missions too (it's debatable whether it can do this autonomously though, probably needs the smarts in the control deck) which is quite an advanced feature set for such a small heli and greatly improves its usefulness for FPV applications. Video review of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSQwb4p09wE [youtube.com]

Re:Cool (2)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year ago | (#42829953)

You're off by a few orders of magnitude. Periods and commas mean different things in different parts of the world, especially as they pertain to numerical expression.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42829973)

Read the article. 20 milion usd for R&D and 160 copters. Over 100.000 bucks per unit.

Re: Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830165)

I have no opinion on the story, just wanted to say my daughter has aspergers asshole. Go fuck hourself.

Re: Cool (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830275)

So how does she shit?

Re: Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830277)

She has an aspergers asshole? Performing what manner of sick depravity led you to that discovery? You should seek some help.

Re:Cool (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42830925)

Before the aspbergers show up with their negativity...

Congratulations, you just proved that you have ass burgers. No one else would so willfully shit both on people with mental illness and on people who disagree with their view that new ways to make sure that our guys can kill as many of their guys as possible are bad things.

Re:Cool chuckle zinger beans, drinkypoo (3, Funny)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about a year ago | (#42831363)

Well spoken and good call! You've nailed it.

'Those with Asperger' is just one of the emerging epithets used in discussion forums as chuckle zingers. The object of the game is to be the first in your group to come up with a zinger that is worded such that the author is winking and laughing with some (presumed, unseen) audience of like minded individuals.

It is a social gambit to build such a clique. Some readers are surprised by the novelty and cleverness of the remark -- and there is an inherent vulnerability in the human specie where our respect for the clever comic transcends subject matter and deep implications. They take it as their own and drop it elsewhere (always fast, always first) and it becomes a contagion of memery.

A chuckle zinger may result in a brief spell of uncomfortable laughter among the astonished, conspiratorial laughter among a growing clique. This is why blatantly racial and sexist jokes continue to have such persistence of memory. Not because racism and sexism is prevalent... they have astonished the most and therefore are most often regurgitated by those who prefer a bad joke to a period of quality silence.

There are exceptions however. A goatse link is always appropriate anywhere. It is a jesting reminder of our childlike preoccupation with astonishment that may be contemplated in thoughtful silence. Goatse does not present itself with word-jargon that attempts to inject it into social context. It just presents itself. Period.

With my pedantic and droll style of writing I am immune to such things as zingers.

Re:Cool chuckle zinger beans, drinkypoo (1)

arcite (661011) | about a year ago | (#42837079)

Here you go sir, one internet cookie with extra sprinkles!

Re:Cool chuckle zinger beans, drinkypoo (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year ago | (#42845413)

Aspbergers has been taken out of the DSM-V draft as a form of autism. So very soon "OFFICIALLY" if you are "high functioning aspbergers" now you're just an asshole. And if you're low functioning you have autism. So that shouldn't offend anyone. I don't care about being politically correct. This is the internet act accordingly, and/or go fuck yourself in your own asshole. Jackasses. -The Redman Cometh

Drone strike (2)

dmp123 (547038) | about a year ago | (#42829937)

Drone strike.....

Cheap Anti-drone system against this one.... (1)

rts008 (812749) | about a year ago | (#42830285)

A can of wasp and hornet spray, and a fly swatter, and you're good to go!
Or go high-tech, and get the laser anti-flying insect defense system that was an article here [ohgizmo.com] some years back. It shouldn't be too difficult to boost the laser output power.

Re:Cheap Anti-drone system against this one.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830439)

Meanwhile at sand... HQ
Ali, any ideas?
Yes, lets train our hunting hawk to collect em for us, at $100K a piece, we can flog them at the bazaar or ebay
Abdul. Wonder if we can strip a microwave oven, and make a horn like our Belgrade brothers.
Mohan: Well, the chinese have something similar for $30. add a cheap chinese 'bug' detector, and we can make a kamikaze device to home in on the controller. What about bird netting?

Meanwhile at Camp Jarhead
Robert, (polishing shotgun) - Andrew, feel like a bit of trap shooting?
Andy, I'm a better shot
Rob: Oh yeah, ever tried to hit these new hover thingies
Andy: Your on. 100 quid, and drinks to the first who downs the first five.

Price (1)

FCAdcock (531678) | about a year ago | (#42830019)

Yeah, they cost 200k for the first few. But that is to cover development. The actual price of these things should fall dramatically over the next year or so as they get rolled out. If this is the same tiny drone I've seen pictures of in the news lately, they look like something you'd find being flown around the mall by some guy selling them at a kiosk, albeit with quite a bit more technology in the camera and remote control.

Re:Price (3, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42830279)

The actual price of these things should fall dramatically over the next year or so as they get rolled out.

You don't know much about military contracting, do you?

Great... Now we need to add a fly swatter to the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830053)

standard issue Army gear.
Like there's not enough crap to lag around already...

Brennan comes thru for the SlashDOT crew! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830175)

Wowee ... war is FUN. Neat-O toys. War can last forever now and we'll have so much fun. Let's do another one!!!! YAY!

Can they be operated with one hand? (4, Insightful)

rts008 (812749) | about a year ago | (#42830209)

One thing is for certain, soldiers will have plans formed in much less than the first hour after the drones are issued to them..."We need drone style, real-time visual recon of the nearest women's shower. ASAP!"

Troops will be troops, it has been so for thousands of years: Live to get laid, have the next drink, and collecting some coin.

Re:Can they be operated with one hand? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42830281)

+1 insightful.

These toys will be worn out/broken long before they ever reach the battlefield.

Re:Can they be operated with one hand? (2)

AlecC (512609) | about a year ago | (#42832541)

The Chieftain tank has, as probably most other tanks do, sophisticated stabilising system so that the gun stays dead level while the tank hull bucks across the countryside. They found out that the servo systems which do this were wearing out much sooner than inspected. Inquiries found that the gunner was turning the system on all the time so that it stopped spilling his tea, which he put on top of the gun breech. They solved the problem by putting a domed cover on the breech.

Is this only army? (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year ago | (#42830321)

If the UK government is going to bulk buy for a better cost then there are probably other parts under the government umbrella that are going to get some. Like M16. Like the police. Could be useful to buzz in for some pictures of faces in a crowd.

Re:Is this only army? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830499)

Or secretly buzz the women's cadet quarters, get honors in advanced upskirting. Designed by perverts, for perverts. Sure, it will never be misused. not.

Step Two (3, Interesting)

paiute (550198) | about a year ago | (#42830765)

How much C4 do you need one of these things to carry before it becomes a nice way to take out the target after it finds one?

Re:Step Two (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830971)

far more than it can carry.

Re:Step Two (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42831453)

A small fragmentation grenade weighs 180g. This copter weighs 16g.

Unless the soldier has superhuman steering abilities, it's not even close. 10g explosives won't do the trick reliably.

Other uses of drones (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42834179)

How much C4 do you need one of these things to carry before it becomes a nice way to take out the target after it finds one?

A drone can carry small amounts of chemical or biological warfare agents. Sometimes a small amount is all it takes.

A drone can also light up a specific target using an IR laser. The real damage will be done by a guided missile.

Re:Step Two (1)

uutf (2432816) | about a year ago | (#42854677)

For single target kills they could just use a small blowdart powered by a compressed gas canister.

Manhack (1)

atomican (2799855) | about a year ago | (#42830797)

The concept of portable drones a soldier can deploy in the field reminds me a bit of manhacks (those spinny-blade enemies in Half-Life 2).

Not that anyone remembers such an old game like Half-Life 2. Heck I think even Valve's forgotten about the series... /cry

Deus Ex (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42830805)


The future is here.

Weaponized Killer Bees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42831085)

Had to read the headline a second time to realize it wasn't about weaponized hornet swarms. Now I'm dissapointed.

What about the receiver/display? (1)

kenh (9056) | about a year ago | (#42831719)

Sure, the UAV "drone" only weighs 16 grams, but what about the weight of:

a) The protective box that carries it
b) The recharging/refueling mechanisim
c) The receiver
d) The display

What does it weigh in hand grenades? Ammo clips? etc.

Re:What about the receiver/display? (3, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42832307)

What does it weigh in hand grenades?

And just like that, I have a new favorite system of measurement.

A starting point of a long journey (1)

Max_W (812974) | about a year ago | (#42835409)

It is very hard to learn to fly a helicopter or quadrocopter well. A lot of flying hours are needed. Really a lot. It is about becoming a pilot.

Nothing even remotely similar exists on the ground; - roll, pitch, yaw. Watching fuel constantly (it is never a flight, in the sense of a free flight, it is always a jump which is to be thought over and planned). Let alone wind, rain, wires, trees, birds, etc.

It will take years to get comfortable with this technology. The brain, the whole nervous system must adjust to flying.

More to come (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42837165)

I looked at the blurb, then found sites with 7 more including the one created by Darpa from 2007-2011 that is about the same size as, looks like and flies like a hummingbird. The only difference is that this bird sends 720p video streams back to the control unit. Flight time is quite short, but long enough for many many purposes.

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