Teledyne FLIR Defense’s new Black Hornet 4 Personal Reconnaissance System nano-drone amazes at AUSA 2023


Teledyne FLIR Defense, a division of Teledyne Technologies, is unveiling its latest innovation, the Black Hornet 4 Personal Reconnaissance System, at this year's Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) conference in Washington D.C.
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Next-gen nano-drone builds on battle-proven Black Hornet 3 legacy, delivers improved range, endurance, signature and imagery data while providing covert situational awareness to warfighters (Picture source: Teledyne FLIR)


The Black Hornet 4 represents a significant leap forward in the realm of lightweight nano-drones, building upon the achievements of its predecessor to offer enhanced covert situational awareness for small military units. Equipped with a brand-new 12-megapixel daytime camera boasting exceptional low-light performance and a cutting-edge high-resolution thermal imager, this drone delivers crystal-clear video and still images to the operator. Remarkably, despite weighing in at a mere 70 grams, the Black Hornet 4 boasts a flight duration exceeding 30 minutes, a range extending beyond two kilometers, and the capability to navigate through 25-knot winds. Its flight performance is further bolstered by newly incorporated obstacle avoidance features and an advanced battery system.

Unlike small quad-rotor drones, the single-rotor Black Hornet 4 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) maintains an incredibly discreet visual and auditory profile, allowing it to identify threats both day and night without arousing suspicion. With a launch time of less than 20 seconds and its suitability for missions in GPS-denied environments, the Black Hornet 4 UAV proves invaluable in rapidly identifying targets beyond the visual line of sight and assessing real-time weapon effects.

Dr. JihFen Lei, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Teledyne FLIR Defense, remarked, "Black Hornet 4 elevates the features and capabilities that made Black Hornet 3 renowned worldwide to new heights. We've collaborated closely with customers and end-users to enhance the value of this system for dismounted soldiers seeking situational awareness or engaged in covert operations, where precise and immediate intelligence is paramount."

Lei also emphasized the future-proof nature of the Black Hornet 4 nano-drone technology.

To date, FLIR Defense has supplied over 20,000 Black Hornet PRS systems to military and security forces in more than 40 countries. Notably, these drones are currently in use in Ukraine, thanks to generous donations from the British and Norwegian governments, where they have proven their effectiveness in numerous missions, even in the harshest of conditions.

The U.S. Army initiated its acquisition of Black Hornets five years ago as part of the Soldier Borne Sensor program and has since placed orders totaling over $125 million. In July, the Army awarded Teledyne FLIR a five-year contract valued at up to $94 million for additional Black Hornet systems.


Defense News October 2023