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Prox Dyanmics’ camouflage-gray Black Hornet weighs just 16 grams, is 10 centimeters long and has a 4-inch rotor span. Designed for infantry units, the aircraft is equipped with a nano-camera capable of sending back high-definition motion video or still images to its operator via a tablet-size LCD screen.

The heightening Nordic focus on soldier protection has spurred the region’s unmanned aircraft system (UAS) manufacturers to prioritize developing sophisticated micro-technologies.

Nordic nano-UAS producers Prox Dynamics and CybAero are taking a somewhat different route to that of larger global competitors, which are developing more offensive UASs. The two companies are designing and producing smaller, unarmed nano-UASs that are virtually invisible, silent and difficult to neutralize.

Prox Dynamics’ nano-sized Black Hornet, which has been developed in cooperation with the state-funded Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (NDRE), already has been sold to the British and Norwegian armies.

CybAero also has been investing heavily to produce more sophisticated macro-sized UASs with more nano-technology content. The Swedish company formed a strategic helo-UAS partnership with U.S.-based AeroVironment in November 2012.

“We have found the ideal partner,” said CybAero CEO Leif Erlandsson. “AeroVironment has delivered over 22,000 hand-operated fixed wing [UASs]. Eighty-five percent of all [UASs] used by U.S. armed forces are supplied by AeroVironment. Our cooperation agreement covers the United States, NATO and a number of other markets.”

Under the agreement, AeroVironment will use CybAero’s current product APID 60 in the UAS systems it sells to the U.S. military.

Image courtesy of Prox Dynamics.

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