Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Black Hornet
Copyright © 2024 Andreas Parsch

Teledyne FLIR Black Hornet

The Black Hornet is a very small micro-UAV (sometimes called a nano UAV), which was originally developed by the Norwegian company Prox Dynamics as their model PD-100. In 2016, Prox Dynamics was bought by FLIR Systems, which in turn was acquired by Teledyne Technologies in 2021. The first flight of the Black Hornet occurred in 2008, and the drone entered production in 2012. The first order from a military customer was received from the UK Ministry of Defence in 2013 to supply troops in Afghanistan.

Photo: Corporal Daniel Wiepen/MOD
Black Hornet 2

In the US, the Black Hornet was first evaluated by the US Army under the CP-ISR (Cargo Pocket Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) program in the 2014/15 time frame. In 2019, FLIR Systems received the first of several US Army contracts for Black Hornet 3 Personal Reconnaissance Systems (PRS) under the Army's SBS (Soldier Borne Sensor) program.

The Black Hornet is controlled via a small hand-held GCS (Ground Control Station). Besides the line-of-sight data link, the drone also has a GPS navigation system for autonomous waypoint navigation and auto-return to the operator. It is equipped with two EO cameras looking forward and downward, and a night imager with a fused thermal(IR)/EO camera. Video and high-res still imagery is displayed on the controller and also stored there. The UAV has no on-board data storage to prevent compromised data in case one is captured by the enemy. The complete Black Hornet 3 PRS, consisting of two air vehicles and the GCS with integrated drone containers, weighs only 1.3 kg (2.9 lb) and can be carried on a utility belt. Recharge time of a drone is 20-25 minutes, about the same as the maximum flight time. So one UAV can be recharged while the other is flying.

Photo: Teledyne FLIR
Black Hornet 3

Production of the Black Hornet is ongoing, and by 2022, more than 20000 examples had been sold world-wide.


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for Black Hornet 3:

Length16.8 cm (6.6 in)
Width2.5 cm (1 in)
Rotor diameter12.3 cm (4.8 in)
Weight< 30 g (1.2 oz)
Speed21 km/h (13 mph)
Range2 km (1.2 mile)
Endurance25 min
PropulsionBattery-powered electric motor

Main Sources

[1] Wikipedia: Black Hornet Nano
[2] Army Technology: PD-100 Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle
[3] Marine Corps Times, James K. Sanborn: Marines get a closer look at Black Hornet micro drone
[4] Teledyne FLIR: Black Hornet® 3
[5] Teledyne FLIR News Center

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 17 January 2024