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Air Platforms

Black Hornet 3 nano UAV under development

03 April 2017
The Black Hornet 3 will feature a larger air vehicle than in-service systems (pictured). Source: US Marine Corps

FLIR's Prox Dynamics unit is in the process of developing a new version of its PD-100 Black Hornet nano rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Jane's has learned.

The new PD-100 Black Hornet 3 will feature a larger air vehicle, weighing as much as 35 g - the Black Hornet 2 has an all-up weight of 18 g.

The system's primary role is as a soldier-borne close reconnaissance asset will be maintained, with a concept of operations that sees it carried on a combat vest.

Ole Aguirre, director UAS business development for FLIR Systems, told Jane's that the air vehicle will never exceed a weight of 63 g, as this would move it beyond the class 0 UAV status that it currently has and which frees it from flight restrictions.

Although he was unable to disclose specifics regarding the performance enhancements that will be brought into the new system, Aguirre said that Prox Dynamics' acquisition by FLIR enables the air vehicle design to take advantage of a wider range of payloads and technologies - those already developed by FLIR and bespoke systems.

At present, Black Hornet 3 is slated to feature day/night video, a metadata and snap shot function, an advanced GPS-based autopilot, and functionality in GPS denied environments.

The system will participate in the US Army's Maneuver Battle Lab's Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) 2018 event, where it will take part in the live fire and force-on-force sections.

PD-100 systems have been sold to operators in 23 countries, Aguierre said.

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