Imagine a tiny vehicle, the size and shape of a maple seed, flying over enemy territory. A camera embedded in its wing is sending real-time images of the adversary to a soldier with a hand-held display. Nano technology, the art and science of the very small, will revolutionize warfare in the 21st century. Lockheed Martin's nano air vehicle design, shaped like a maple tree seed, is a single-bladed device that rotates in flight.
Incredibly, the vehicle is propelled by a small solid two-stage rocket thruster on the blade's tip giving the nano air vehicle extra range and endurance. It can travel at speeds of up to ten meters per second. While stability and guidance are controlled on-board, the nano air vehicle's top-level navigation and other commands are controlled by the soldier in the field.
The nano air vehicle also houses telemetry, imaging sensors and a power source. The imaging payload, which can be changed to suit the mission, is no bigger than an aspirin tablet.