Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
A new drone design for the military would allow vehicles to carry four miniature helicopter camera drones, capable of flying two at a time.
The Black Hornet drone feels like a movie prop. Roughly the size and weight of a sparrow, the robotic scout helicopter has already seen use with British special forces. At the 2018 Association of the United States Army exposition in Washington, D.C., Black Hornet-maker FLIR showed off the latest way to carry the drone into combat: a miniature hanger for four drones, roughly the size of a large breadbox. It’s called the Vehicle Reconnaissance System.
Like a description from a lost G.I. Joe catalog, the VRS fits four helicopters into chambers known as cassettes. The box containing cartridges full of robots can be mounted on vehicles, including people-transporting machines and also uncrewed ground vehicles. That’s right, this is a box full of robots that can go on a robot and launch more robots. It’s quite the exhibit of remote warfare.
The goal is to provide the soldier in the vehicle a way to gain information about nearby enemy positions from the air, in real time.
What is intriguing, and somewhat scary about this, is that it prefigures a time when many tiny drones will be instantly deployable, but with killing capabilities, not simply camera.