Even as the ink dries on a $48 million deal to supply Norway with intelligence-gathering Black Hornet drones, California’s Teledyne Technologies is also moving quickly to make delivery on over 100 ground robots it has contracted with Germany’s army.
The developments are big breakthroughs for Thousand Oaks-based Teledyne Technologies and its Teledyne Flir Defense unit. The most recent of the pair came in an agreement signed in late June with the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency for $48 million worth of Black Hornet nano personal aerial reconnaissance drones. The move makes Norway the world’s largest user of the small but powerful intelligence gathering UAVs, which it first began deploying in 2015.
Weighing in at just 33 grams and measuring only 168 millimeters, the Black Hornet is a pocket transported and nearly silent drone designed for deployment in hostile, even GPS-denied environments. Teledyne Flir says the onboard electro-optical and infrared sensors provide the UAV with the same detection capabilities as ground options or larger craft. It transmits live thermal video and image feeds to operators during a maximum flight time of 25 minutes.
Teledyne Flir Defense – which, not incidentally, continues developing and producing the Black Hornet line in Norway – has thus far delivered more than 12,000 of the intelligence gathering drones to military and defense clients around the world.
The transaction took place against the background of many NATO and non-alliance countries in Europe moving to muscle up their defense capacities as fears grow that Russia’s willingness to wage war my eventually spill out westward from Ukraine.
“With this new agreement, nations cooperating with Norway may also procure the Black Hornet,” said Teledyne Technologies CEO Robert Mehrabian. “As the world’s leading nano UAV system, Black Hornet delivers covert situational awareness to military units in combat operations – a crucial advantage at a time when European and allied countries confront new threats on the Continent and beyond.”
An earlier transaction orchestrated by Teledyne Flir Defense’s European resales representative sealed the procurement by the German army of 127 Packbot 525 autonomous ground vehicles. Since its introduction in 2001, the robot conceived for deployment in combat zones has been used by armed forces for bomb disposal, close-in surveillance, hostage situations, and remote handling of hazardous materials.
“PackBot is the world’s most trusted counter-IED robot, and this latest shipment adds to the German Army’s inventory of Teledyne Flir unmanned ground vehicles,” said Tom Frost, general manager of uncrewd ground systems at Teledyne Flir Defense.