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Nano spy helicopters are seemingly besting the war of drones over the skies of Ukraine. Called Black Hornets, these small drones can fly unheard and are difficult to spot among vegetation and buildings.

Although militaries have been using drones for years, the recent growing availability of low-cost options caused an explosion in their usage. Moreover, the Ukraine-Russia conflict has proved to the world the massive usefulness of drones.

According to Interesting Engineering, the US recently agreed to send a batch of 300 Black Hornet drones to Ukraine, which are reportedly proving “effective” in their missions.

When describing drones, most people refer to quadcopter aerial vehicles, but the Black Hornet is actually a miniaturized version of a helicopter, which assumed the role of a spy drone due to its small size (less than 17 centimeters nose to tail). Despite having a flight time of only 25 minutes, the Black Hornet is capable of delivering live high-definition visible and thermal video to its operator. It is also designed to operate in highly contested and GPS-denied environments, making it a valuable tool for surveillance and reconnaissance closer to adversaries.

It is claimed that the Black Hornet can fly within 9 meters of enemy troops without making a sound, and is extremely difficult to stop when flying close to vegetation and buildings (at least 20 meters).

The drone with its charger and controller all fit inside a carriable case that easily fits inside a standard military pouch. The Black Hornet can not only be controlled with one hand, it’s autonomous navigation features allow it to react to changing environments and even return to its dock with minimal manual supervision.

It is a reportedly more highly-priced drone, but considering that it is intended for extended use and is not meant to be harmed by exploding payload during missions, the price is deemed fair. Furthermore, the price is steadily dropping, and technological advances have resulted in the addition of better features while reducing the selling price.

This information was provided by Popular Mechanics and