The British military is testing out miniature drones that are barely four inches long. Called the Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle, the microdrone is unarmed but with sophisticated camera capabilities and is now being used in Afghanistan . Manufactured by Norwegian firm Prox Dynamics , almost 160 units are destined for use in Central Asia. “Black Hornet is definitely adding value, especially considering the light weight nature of it. We used it to look for insurgent firing points and 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,” Sgt. Christopher Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Afghanistan told Sky News.
Military authorities around the world are fascinated by the idea of using miniature drones for discreet surveillance. Dutch researchers introduced a hummingbird UAV  in 2010, a British firm is marketing a handheld quadrocopter , and Lockheed-Martin is developing monocopters based on maple tree seeds .
[Image: Sgt. Rupert Frere RLC for British Ministry of Defense  / ©Crown copyright 2012]