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An image of the Insectothopter from the CIA's Virtual Museum.

The Insectothopter was a miniature unmanned aerial vehicle developed by the United States Central Intelligence Agency's research and development office in the 1970s. The Insectothopter was the size of a dragonfly, and was hand-painted to look like one. It was powered by a miniature fluidic oscillator to propel the wings up and down at the proper rate to provide both lift and thrust. A small amount of propellant produced gas to drive the oscillator, and extra thrust came from the excess gas vented out the rear.[1] The project was abandoned when the Insectothopter was found to be too difficult to control in crosswinds.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Insectothopter: The Bug-Carrying Bug — Central Intelligence Agency". Archived from the original on August 16, 2013.
  2. ^ Shrader, Katherine: New Agency IARPA Develops Spy Tools, The Washington Post, May 31, 2007.