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August 9, 2005 - An Israeli company has developed what it calls "a tactical miniature intelligence-gathering munition," a small unmanned camera that is fired from a grenade launcher to gather images of the battlefield ahead.
Equipped with two CCD-based cameras, the Firefly, as the unguided camera is called, is able to transmit real time images to a soldier operating a pocket PC. Images can then be used to make split-second combat decisions, or stored and shared with other soldiers later.
The tiny camera, only 3.8 centimeters in diameter and 15.5 centimeters long, has a range of about 600 meters and a maximum flight time of eight seconds, relying solely on the explosive charge in the grenade launcher to propel it.
Rafael Armament Development Authority, the manufacturer of the Firefly, has currently outfitted the Israeli Army with the camera and plans to pass the technology on to allies in 2006.