US Army wants nano drone to support soldiers 500 meter awareness and targeting assistance in urban and other settings

Army leaders want to build a nano drone that weighs less than a pound with the entire unmanned system not weighing more than three pounds, according to a Request for Information released on on March 1.

The Army is calling its nano drone efforts, the Soldier Borne Sensors (SBS) program with Product Manager Soldier Maneuver Sensors (PM SMS) leading the work to outfit soldiers with these high tech unmanned systems.

Developing nano drones to fly through buildings to protect soldiers before having to clear rooms is a high priority for Army leaders. The technology is catching up to Army expectations.

The British Army deploy the Black Hornet nano drone (pictured above) to Afghanistan in 2013. Built by Prox Dynamics, the nano drone measures 4 inches long and weighs only 16 grams to include batteries. It carries three cameras and can fly up to 11 mph.

The PD-100 Personal Reconnaisance System (PRS) made by the Norwegian company Prox Dynamics provides the modern day warrior with a game-changing piece of equipment for instant use on the battlefield. (Image courtesy Prox Dynamics)

US Army wants a bigger drone with more range and better cameras than the PD-100

  • The display will be visible in day or night and backlit with brightness and contrast controls.
  • The system will accept a standard interoperable charging configuration with Military Standard and widely commercially available chargers.
  • Air vehicle must operate in manual mode and operate in waypoint navigation mode.
  • Air vehicle’s operating radius: Line of Sight: 500 meters
  • Air vehicle’s mission endurance: 15 mins
  • Air vehicle shall have, at range of 100 meters day (50 meters night), sufficient resolution for a trained operator to detect a man-sized target with a 90% probability.
  • Air vehicle shall have, at range of 20 meters during the day, sufficient resolution for a trained operator to recognize a man-sized target and determine if armed with a rifle or not with a 90% probability.
  • Air vehicle will have the ability to be hand launched and recovered, without exposing the operator, while in the prone position and while from cover & concealment, a hide site, confined area and alleyway type locations.
  • Air vehicle’s launch time from stored to operational is less than 60 seconds.
  • Air vehicle must be operable in constant winds up to 10 knots and gusts to 15 knots.