West has always been a practitioner of espionage culture in both the civilian world and at the military front. With the passage of time, latest and more effective techniques have been developed and adopted in order to gain an extra edge over the adversaries. This has led to a never ending race in the field of surveillance.
It was the French Revolution in particular that gave rise to the aerial surveillance in war and combat by the use of Observation Balloons. It became an effective tool in highlighting the key positions of the enemy and planning a coordinated attack towards it. This method remain useful till the World War 1.
In the mid 20th century the United States of America surprised the world by producing a high altitude reconnaissance aircraft known as the Lockheed U-2 capable of reaching speeds near Mach-3.
Later it was replaced by Lockheed’s SR-71 Blackbird, which proved to be even more effective in highlighting the potentially risky sites, most of them being in Latin America and the Soviet Union especially in the era of Cuban Missile Crisis.
With the advancements in aviation sciences and technologies, specifically in unmanned flying vehicles, the focus shifted to more miniature sizes which became very popular in the recent decades. This led to development of Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk, an unmanned remotely controlled surveillance system.
Recently another gemstone of espionage has been added in the Royal Hat which is said to be almost as small as the palm of a human being. On 4th of February this year the British Army released a photo of one of its soldiers, Sergeant Scott Weaver from The Queens Royal Lancers operating one of the early units of the system.
This miniature drone has been produced by Norway’s Prox Dynamics which is considered to be a part of a 20 million pounds (approximately $31 million) project in cooperation with southern England’s Marlborough Communications Ltd. The Scandinavian designed drone has been officially identified to date as The Black Hornet Nano.
It weighs around 16 grams (0.56th of an ounce). The length is about 4 inches (10 cm). The special feature of the device is that it has been fitted with a camera unit which relays live video and still images to the remote server or terminal. The troops are using this gadget to locate high priority sites in order to engage them at the earliest.
The drone is considered to be an all weather capable companion who improves the sustainability of the unit and minimizes the risk of getting stuck up in risky situations.