Imagine the Marine on a reconnaissance mission who must know now just what's over the hill in front of him. Imagine a 4 pound glider that fits in a backpack, has the radar signature of a bird, comes packed with a video eye, can be assembled and launched in less than 5 minutes, and comes complete with a portable control station. Now visualize that soldier launching his flyer and then watching his control station screen come alive - showing him not only the nature and general size and condition of the enemy in front of him, but their movements, their hardware, the general landscape, the cover provided.
This is Dragon Eye - a new robotic airborne sensor system funded by the Office of Naval Research that gives the soldier the means of seeing what he can't see from standing where he is. And best of all, Dragon Eye comes back when called. It's low-priced, hip-pocket aerial reconnaissance for the troops - made with commercial, off-the-shelf materials - so even if it is captured by enemy fire or other tactics, it is easily replaceable. The Dragon Eye bench model, built and demonstrated by the Naval Research Laboratory, is now ready to be contracted out for production prototyping.
Video of Dragon Eye being tested, including a view of its imaging capabilities.