The military is making increasing uses of drones and robotics and the latest from AeroVironment is taking the small scale to the next level. The company’s “Snipe Nano Quad is tiny, about the size of a cell phone and weighs less than half of a pound. But it makes up for it with what it can accomplish for operators in the field.

Weighing in at about 5 ounces, the four-rotor aircraft is equipped with an electro-optical/infrared system that allows it to take photos or live-streaming video both day or night. And its quiet electric motors make it difficult to detect, even when surrounding noise levels are low.

That can be invaluable in close-range military operations where U.S. troops don’t know what’s around the next corner — or at the top of the next hill.

In a video AV posted on YouTube, Snipe Program Manager Jon Ross explains it this way:

“An example for Snipe could be a squad who’s given a mission to do reconnaissance on a structure on the top of a hill,” Ross said. “Apparently, it was abandoned but reports indicate that it could be used by insurgents. So a squad is supposed to go up there and clear that facility. The problem is it’s at the top of a hill and there’s no way to approach it without possibly being seen if someone were inside. Snipe could give that squad a 360-degree view of the target from the rooftop, through any open windows or indoors to give them confidence as they approach.”

The Snipe can fly at speeds exceeding 20 mph and the tiny craft is capable of operating under challenging environmental conditions including winds of more than 15 mph with gusts of up to 20 mph. It has a range of about 3,280 feet and its rechargeable batteries can keep it aloft for 15 minutes at a time although the battery can easily be changed out for extended use

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The company is not only manufacturing its product for military use but they’ll extend their product for commercial use as well by first responders, law enforcement agencies, search-and-rescue teams.

To read the entire article from the Pasadena Star News  click here:

Photo courtesy AeroVironment Inc.