UK, Norway send $9 million in Teledyne Flir drones to Ukraine

Norway UK drones Ukraine

The UK and Norway are sending more than $9 million worth of Teledyne Flir Black Hornet micro drones to Ukraine to aid the nation’s battle against Russia’s invasion.

Norway’s Ministry of Defense announced the move Wednesday, saying the $9.2 million in tactical drone support will be drawn from a $41.1 million fund the UK as created with allies to assist Ukraine’s defensive effort. The Black Hornet reconnaissance, situational awareness, and data collection UAVs will be supplied under a $48 million contract Teleydne Flir signed with Norway earlier this year, which made the Nordic country the world’s largest user of the craft.

Read moreTeledyne Flir signs $48 million Black Hornet drone deal with Norway 

Ukraine has specifically requested Black Hornet tech as part of its Army of Drones campaign, and in direct requests to governments backing its fight against Russia’ aggression. The pocket-sized, easy-to-use UAVs are particularly effective in getting fast over-the-hill views and video feeds of movements in areas surrounding the pilot’s location.

Weighing just 33 grams and measuring only 168 millimeters, the Black Hornet is a 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. 

ReadUkraine’s Army of Drones donation appeal features slick UAV video 

The Black Hornet drone heading to Ukraine was developed and is still produced by California-based Teledyne Flir in Norway, whose armed forces use the craft along with those in the US, the UK, and other allied nations. 

“The drone is used for reconnaissance and target identification (and) is easy to operate, robust, difficult to detect, and particularly well suited for combat in urban areas,” Norway’s announcement read. “Procurement, training, and delivery of the material is done in collaboration with and coordinated by the British authorities… Close cooperation with the defense industry will be crucial to continued key deliveries of military equipment to Ukraine in the future. This cooperation also ensures that Ukraine has more modern and efficient weapons and systems.”

In addition to the Black Hornet reconnaissance micro drones, Norway is also supplying Ukraine with an anti-drone system using about $10.2 million from the UK-managed fund. 

Read: Ukraine among first users of DedronePortable counter-UAV system 

London-based UAV tech company SteelRock Technologies has been chosen to deliver its Nightfighter counter-drone platform in the effort. Norway’s communiqué describes it as a “portable system that provides protection against drones through effective jamming… (and) is particularly suitable for protecting smaller patrols, artillery positions, and other important resources.”

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