Syrian soldiers capture US thermal drone in ongoing civil war

Syrian American drone

An image of Syrian Arab Army (SAA) soldiers holding a FLIR Back Hornet drone that was reportedly captured in northeast town of Tal Tamr, Syria. The drone was captured by two soldiers and is believed to be from the US armed forces.

The image reportedly first emerged online back on July 19th with various social media accounts posting the image with captions suggesting that the drone was captured by Major Ali Suleiman and another soldier. The drone was captured by the two soldiers in the Al-Hasakah Governorate.

If the images and posts are 100% true it shows the close combat fighting that is currently taking place in the middle east. The Black Hornet has a maximum flight time of 25 minutes and a maximum range of 1.24 miles.

Its known that the FLIR Black Hornet drones are being used by the US armed forces in the region with FLIR securing an extra $20.6 million contract with the US Army to use Black Hornet drones with deliveries expected near the end of 2020. While we don’t know the exact origin of the images, it is very likely that the US were performing a surveillance mission and the drone malfunctioned or wasn’t able to make it back in time before running out of battery.

FLIR Black Hornet 3

The FLIR Black Hornet, was originally produced by Prox Dynamics who was later bought out by FLIR. The Black Hornet is currently in use by 19 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries including the United States, Australia, France, and Germany. The tiny surveillance and reconnaissance drone only weighs 1.16 ounces and has a total length of 6.6 inches. The drone takes on the form of a helicopter and has a dual camera payload on the front for day and night time use, the payload is replaceable.

The drone is able to take images at a resolution of 1600×1200 when taking an EO Snapshot or 160×120 when capturing a thermal image. The tiny drone is also able to record video at 640×480 when taking an EO video and 160×120 when recording thermal imaging video. The Black Hornet is equipped with the latest flight modes, including auto return to home, waypoint missions, and automatic hover and stare.

It comes stock with GNSS-based navigation which uses GPS to know its position in the world. If you are willing to splurge a little more cash on the Black Hornet you are able to get vision-based navigation for use in GPS-denied environments and embedded vector and raster maps.

Photo: FLIR Systems

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