The Army has awarded a $93.9 million contract to Teledyne to procure additional small unmanned aerial vehicles over the next five years, according to a company announcement.
Teledyne will provide the Army with 8,000 Black Hornet reconnaissance small UAVs to augment squad and small unit surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
“The Black Hornet 3 gives warfighters up-to-the-minute situational understanding before and while they conduct missions,” JihFen Lei, executive vice president and general manager of Teledyne FLIR Defense, said in a press release. “These technologies are reshaping the modern battlefield.”
Weighing an ounce, the Black Hornet can fly up to 25 minutes, transmit live video and still images back to the operator in a contested environment with a low audio and visual signature within a 1.2-mile range.
Resembling a helicopter, the UAV is designed to allow soldiers to conduct reconnaissance missions in place of soldiers and minimize potential exposure.
A soldier can operate the UAV with a handheld controller and display unit, which functions as the main hub for soldiers to interact with the system, according to the Army’s Acquisition Support Center.
The project culminated the Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor program in which the service sought a small UAV for reconnaissance roles.
The service previously procured more than 4,000 Black Hornet 3 systems between fiscal years 2019-2023, according to Jason Amadi, an Army spokesperson.
The service did not solicit other bidders and the current deal is an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract with enough room for foreign military sales, Amadi added. The contract also includes the controller, spare parts and training.
Norway and the United Kingdom have donated 1,000 Black Hornets to Ukraine, who have utilized the UAV for reconnaissance roles during the ongoing Russian invasion. Teledyne has delivered more than 20,000 Black Hornets to military and security forces in over 40 countries.
The Army also operates the Skydio RQ-28A, a portable quadcopter that weighs less than five pounds, according to Amadi.