On 2 May, the Defense ministry of The Netherlands signed a contract with the Norwegian manufacturer Prox Dynamics to purchase dozens of tiny reconnaissance drones of the Black Hornet type. The mini-drones will be used by reconnaissance units of the army and the Marine Corps (Mariniers).
The Black Hornet micro-drones will be used by reconnaissance units of the army and the Marine Corps (Mariniers).(Picture source: The Netherlands MoD)
As the name suggests, the mini-drone is the size of a (very) big insect: 10 by 2.5 cm. It weighs 18 grams and its top speed is 18 km/hr. The Black Hornet is also very quiet, so that a target can be approached up to a few meters unnoticed. The so-called military micro-UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) has movable cameras that allow it to take photo and video recordings during day and night. The micro-helicopters can be controlled by sight (per video connection) but they can also fly independently with their autopilot and GPS system. The maximum range is 1 km. Since the charging time is about the same as the flight time, a set can be flown almost continuously.
The system is being purcahsed 'off the shelf'. The teething problems have been developed and Defense is therefore not faced with unexpected (financial) surprises. In addition, the Black Hornet has already proven itself on the front: the British forces have used the system to their great satisfaction in Afghanistan. In addition to the British, Norway and Germany also have the Black Hornet.
Prox Dynamics is training the first trainers of the forthcoming users. They will then train the other scouts. In addition to the Black Hornet, the Netherlands Defense operates two other drones: the RQ-11B Raven(medium duration, distance and height) and the ScanEagle (long duration, distance and height).