Syrian Troops Share Image of Captured Black Hornet 3 Spy Drone

It shows how the new technology is being used in modern warfare.
Fabienne Lang
Black Hornet SyriaZOKA/Twitter

An image is being shared online showing supposedly Syrian troops holding a captured Black Hornet 3 mini drone that was spying on them. 

More and more military units are purchasing such small technology for their warfare strategies, and it's yet to be confirmed who this drone belonged to. 

These small drones give important situational awareness to troops, without placing any people in danger or giving away their position. 


Drones in modern warfare

The image first appeared online on July 19th and claims that Syrian troops discovered the Black Hornet 3 drone, also known as Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS), in the country's northeastern region. 

The Black Hornet 3, currently developed and made by FLIR Systems, spans an impressively small seven inches long and weighs only a tenth of a pound. The drone is controlled by its controller using a tablet-like touchscreen device and a hand-held controller. 

The drone can be sent to a specific location using a GPS-enabled navigation system, or it can be flown within the controller's line of sight. In the GPS mode, the drone can capture images along its route at set points, and then automatically return to its base. 

It may look small but it's packed full of useful contraptions. For instance, it dons two full-motion daytime video cameras and a thermal imager. For nighttime flights, all three cameras work together to give a single higher-fidelity view. 

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Syrian Troops Share Image of Captured Black Hornet 3 Spy Drone
The small but sturdy Black Hornet 3 drone, Source: FLIR Systems

With regards to this specific Black Hornet 3 in Syria, it's still unclear who was operating it. Last year, the U.S. Army started using these drones in a number of its units. France, assisting in the region as well, also flies a number of variants of this drone, although it's not confirmed that its troops have Black Hornet 3s. And so far, the British Army has purchased Black Hornet 3s only for "research and development into a capability gap identified by Army HQ," and not operational use, as per the Drive.

Take a look at how FLIR Systems' Black Hornet 3 drone operates in the company's video: