US army’s pocket-sized spy drone disguised as hummingbird unveiled

February 18th, 2011 - 2:47 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 18 (ANI): The US army has unveiled a pocket-sized spy drone disguised as a hummingbird - it measures just 16 centimetres and weighs less than an AA battery.

The mini spy plane can fly up to 11 miles an hour and took five years to develop at a cost of four million dollars.

Army chiefs hope to use the drone’s tiny camera to spy on enemy positions in war zones without arousing detection and eventually deploy it into both rural and urban environments.

The demonstration by AeroVironment lasted eight minutes and saw the new creation fly through a door into a building and out again, and withstand winds of five miles per hour.

Todd Hylton, Hummingbird programme manager for the Pentagon’s research arm said it “paves the way for a new generation of aircraft with the agility and appearance of small birds,” reports the Daily Mail.

Matt Keennon, of the AeroVironment, said the milestone of building a machine inspired by nature pushes the limits of aerodynamics.

Two years ago the company showed off its first Hummingbird prototype, managing just 20 seconds. The latest flight lasted eight minutes, with engineers expecting longer flights as development continues.

Chris Fisher, project manager at AeroVironment said, “It gives the guy on the ground the opportunity to see what’s on the other side of the hill. There’s only so much you can see with binoculars. A small [drone] can get up and go over the hill. That gives the ground soldier a capability that is huge.”

“One of the things we benefit from is the average young person in the military has hours and hours of video games experience. They are attuned to holding these things in their hands; moving the joysticks around with their thumbs and that’s how our planes are flown. To an 18-year-old it’s extremely simple,” he added. (ANI)

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