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Tiny robotic bird is latest in gov't spy gear

February 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A small flying robot that resembles a bird could be the Pentagon's newest weapon to spy over enemy lines.

The robotic hummingbird is manufactured by AeroVironment of Monrovia. The nano bird is a pocket-sized drone that spies while it flies.

"This is the first aircraft that has been developed that flies with two flapping wings," explained Matt Keenon of AeroVironment.

The Defense Department spent $4 million developing the battery-powered robotic birds.

The prototype has a wingspan of 6.5 inches, weighs two-thirds of an ounce and has a body fairing shaped like a real hummingbird.

AeroVironment was founded by the late Paul MacCready, designer of the pioneering human-powered flying machines Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross. The company also makes unmanned military aircraft systems.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.