First American Army battalion with mini drones heading to Afghanistan


Pvt. Kesley Darnell, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, lets go of the air vehicle as it takes off during the systems fielding at Fort Bragg, N.C., May 2, 2019.

KABUL, Afghanistan — Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division will be the first infantry Army battalion to employ pocket-sized drones at the squad level on their upcoming Afghanistan deployment.

Troops with the Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat team were issued Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System this spring and provided training on how to use the drones, which resemble miniature helicopters.

The 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, is planning to employ the machines next month in Afghanistan, while other elements of the brigade wait to see how best to leverage the system, a brigade spokesman told Stars and Stripes.

The hand-held devices are expected to become standard kit for units across the Army, providing near-real time video that will allow soldiers to better survey their surroundings and detect enemies in combat.

“This kind of technology will be a life-saver for us because it takes us out of harm’s way while enhancing our ability to execute whatever combat mission we’re on,” said Sgt. Ryan Subers, who received the training, quoted in an Army statement. “I’m very grateful for technology like this and to be a part of the first unit to use it.”

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