The Libyan freedom fighters had some serious DIY brilliance, but at least one of their toys was store bought—the Scout micro UAV. The tiny three-pounder provided aerial recon on Qaddafi's men, and helped kick their asses to Tripoli.
DefenseTech reports the little quadrocopter "can fly for 25 minutes up to 13,000 feet and operate in temperatures up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Aeryon. It uses GPS for navigation and has a range of just under two miles, likely due to its WiFi-based comms system." It also uses a Windows XP-based touchscreen map control, as opposed to a joystick. Just tap where you want the drone, and off it goes—think Starcraft. It's a short range eye, but in Libyan terrain, the ability to peak over hills and around buildings was invaluable. It didn't have any firepower of its own, but gave rebels the capability to strike by surprise (or avoid danger), even in the dark.
But where'd it come from? Canada! Danger Room reports the rebels went directly to Ontario to scope out the drone, and then had one delivered back home, where they were trained by another Canadian firm. An international effort if there ever was one, between this, Twitter airstrikes from NATO, and homebrew weaponry sprouting from European engineering degrees.
But why'd they want the drone so badly? Tripoli:
There was also little doubt about where the Libyan rebels wanted to use it. "The only imagery they wanted loaded on was Misurata to Tripoli, on that coastal road," Barlow said. "I can't hand-on-heart tell you it's in Tripoli, but this was the main front out of Misurata."
Looks like it worked. [DefenseTech and Danger Room]