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Reported By Jack Davis | February 2, 2019 at 7:37pm

Army units will soon be equipped with pocket-sized drones to give them an edge on the battlefield.

The Army has awarded FLIR Systems a $39.6 million contract to provide Black Hornet personal-reconnaissance drones, the company said in a release on its website.

The drones are 6.6 inches long and weigh 1.16 ounces, the company said. They can fly in day or night conditions for up to 1.24 miles. The drones have a maximum speed of 20 feet per second.

The drones can remain airborne for about 25 minutes.

Once the army gets the drones, they will be deployed with a Brigade Combat Team. The location of that team has not been announced.

The drones “will give our soldiers operating at the squad level immediate situational awareness of the battlefield through its ability to gather intelligence, provide surveillance, and conduct reconnaissance,” Army spokesman Lt. Col. Isaac Taylor said, according to Task and Purpose.

The company said that the “nano unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems” are “small enough for a dismounted soldier to carry on a utility belt.”

“The highly capable nano-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems delivered under this contract will support platoon and small unit level surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities as part of the Soldier Borne Sensor (SBS) Program,” FLIR said in a statement.

“We are proud to be selected by the U.S. Army for the SBS Program of Record. This contract represents a significant milestone with the operational large-scale deployment of nano-UAVs into the world’s most powerful Army,” said Jim Cannon, President and CEO of FLIR.

“This contract is a major win for the newly established Unmanned Systems & Integrated Solutions business division at FLIR and demonstrates the strong and urgent demand for nano-UAV technology offered by FLIR. Protecting U.S. warfighters with our unmanned solutions is a key objective for FLIR,” he said.

Cannon has said that having the drones available “represents a key opportunity to provide soldiers in every U.S. Army squad a critical advantage on the modern battlefield,” CNET has reported.

The Marines have tested similar technology, according to the Army Times.  FLIR also recently announced that it would be supplying similar technology to French forces.

Stars and Stripes said that British forces in Afghanistan have used similar devices.

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Jack Davis is a free-lance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.

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