Miniature surveillance helicopters help protect British troops

British troops in Afghanistan are making use of state of the art, miniature surveillance helicopters to help them identify hidden dangers.

The Black Hornet UAV measures around 4 x 1in and weighs less than 16g. The system is equipped with a tiny camera which gives troops reliable, full motion video and still images. Information is displayed in real time via a handheld terminal. According to its developer, Norweigan firm Prox Dynamics AS, the device can be carried easily on patrol and is capable of performing in harsh environments. Sergeant Christopher Petherbridge, of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Afghanistan, said: "Black Hornet is definitely adding value, especially considering the lightweight nature of it. "We use it to look for insurgent firing points and to check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset. It is very easy to operate and offers amazing capability to the guys on the ground."