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The CIA secretly developed a petrol-powered dragonfly drone back in the 1970s but the "insectothopter" was considered a failure as it couldn't handle crosswinds.
The CIA refused to discuss its subsequent work but it is known that the Defence Department has been funding research into inserting computer chips into moth pupae to create "cyborg moths" whose flight muscles can be controlled remotely.
"America can be pretty sneaky," said Tom Ehrhard, a retired Air Force colonel and expert on unmanned aerial craft.