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UAVs to Replace Police Helicopters?

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UAVs to Replace Police Helicopters?

Old 15th Sep 2020, 17:27
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by helisdw View Post

If the UAS / RPAS that are used in the UK are sufficiently advanced that midair collisions are guaranteed to be avoided then this is certainly reassuring and a development that is to be applauded.
Current UK CAA policy is that UAS/RPAS up to 20 KG (referred to as Small Unmanned Aircraft) can only be flown VLOS (from the Remote Pilot) and up to 400 FT AGL unless specific permission is granted otherwise by CAA. If it is intended to be flown Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) it must either be equipped with a certified detect and avoid system (which currently there are none) or it has to operate within segregated or controlled airspace (Class A-D) whereby there is a known traffic environment and ATC can apply separaration.

While a detect and avoid system may never be available for SUA it is beginning to appear on larger UAS, as with the Elbit 900 Hermes, albeit the one demonstrated in Wales had only ADS-B and a SSR transponder. Elbit do advertise a detect and avoid system on their website, if they can get it certified, as mentioned in a previous post, the flood gates will open for commercial/law enforcement and other operation of UAS in UK.

The recent demonstration of Hermes 900 in the UK was accordingly currently only possible in segregated airspace (most established temporarily to accomodate it) and controlled airspace (Class A), the latter being necessary to accomodate a transit to an offshore search area south of Ireland.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 17:29
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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On first glance, it might look tremendously cheaper than "real" chopper.
And thats all the bean counters and decision makers need to know!!!
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 17:30
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
If that were the case one might expect it to be trumpeted on their website somewhere. I can't find it
Try this
https://elbitsystems.com/landing/starliner/

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Old 15th Sep 2020, 19:03
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks TCASfan - I looked all through the PR stuff but didn't check the Hermes Starliner. They say they have a detect and avoid system so why wasn't that demonstrated in UK?
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 19:37
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Thanks TCASfan - I looked all through the PR stuff but didn't check the Hermes Starliner. They say they have a detect and avoid system so why wasn't that demonstrated in UK?
The need was to demonstrate the capability of Hermes 900, they did not bring over the Starliner. I suspect that the budget did not stretch to securring certification and/or more especially that the time scale required to acheive it was not realistic.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 20:14
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Following a missing person report, a Police Scotland van parked and a guy operated a small drone to search cliffs and bushes along several miles of coast near my home. Several days were spent on this. Not cheap, and without that unit nothing would have been done after the initial helicopter and RNLI search, lasting a few hours.
PS The body was washed up miles away some time later.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 22:31
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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More gov.uk information regarding similar trials

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/i...one-technology

Innovation call for urban drone technology

The Ministry of Defence is seeking new ways to assist military drone operators in urban environments in a new funding competition.

Published 15 September 2020From:Defence and Security Accelerator, Ministry of Defence, Defence Equipment and Support, and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) and Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) are seeking innovative and novel solutions to assist military drone operators to improve usability in challenging and complex urban operations.

This cross-departmental requirement between DASA and DE&S is designed for the rapid exploitation of technology and is the first of its kind.

Up to £900,000 is available for successful proposals that can help the Ministry of Defence overcome three challenges.

The first challenge is the development of an optimised Unmanned Air System suitable for use in urban environments.

The second challenge is to develop a human-controlled lethal payload that could integrate with a platform outlined in the first challenge.

The third challenge is to demonstrate a full Unmanned Air System with an integrated payload, bringing together the separate elements of challenges 1 and 2.

We are looking for ideas that reduce the mental strain on operators and to improve performance – but solutions must ensure that they remain under full human control at all times.

It is envisaged that these innovations could in future contribute to a new capability that can remove service personnel and military dogs from complex and dangerous urban warfare situations where their lives are put at significant risk.

This competition will be run using a framework agreement. To be considered for inclusion on the framework, suppliers must first complete the compulsory Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) and Cyber Risk Assessment, by Thursday 15 October at midday BST.

Full details can be found in the competition document.
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 03:52
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by nomorehelosforme View Post

The first challenge is the development of an optimised Unmanned Air System suitable for use in urban environments.

The second challenge is to develop a human-controlled lethal payload that could integrate with a platform outlined in the first challenge.
I certainly hope this has drifted away from the original topic of police helicopters. Or I'm going to have to be extra careful about the parking restrictions downtown.
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 06:56
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by TCAS FAN View Post
While a detect and avoid system may never be available for SUA it is beginning to appear on larger UAS, as with the Elbit 900 Hermes, albeit the one demonstrated in Wales had only ADS-B and a SSR transponder. Elbit do advertise a detect and avoid system on their website, if they can get it certified, as mentioned in a previous post, the flood gates will open for commercial/law enforcement and other operation of UAS in UK.
If the basis of the detect and avoid tech is going to include ADS-B, isn’t that just going to give the more dedicated criminals an advantage? For a start it’s surpassingly easy to hop onto Flight Radar 24 (or whatever) and see where it is. But it would also be very easy for a more professional criminal to have an ADS-B receiver, to get an instant warning of the presence of a police UAV free of any internet delays (and no internet trace either). Such a thing is well within the scope of the technical ability of organised crime gangs.

If that became a regular problem they might try using a random ADS-B id. But that mustn’t match another aircraft’s number and it would be trivial to spot new ADS-B ids in comparison with the entries in public databases.

Basically it’d be a tech arms race between cops and robbers, but the advantage would always be with the robbers. The UAV cameras wouldn’t ever find a single professional criminal because they’d be able to know it was coming into their area long before it could see them.

I don’t know if police helicopters emit ADS-B, but they’d probably have the option of switching it off if this ever became an issue.

What I fear may happen is that the lure of cost savings will override any concerns like this, and in years to come we’ll start seeing parliamentary reports about the ineffectiveness of police airborne operations against organised crime, drugs smuggling, etc.
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 08:19
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Just like NPAS was all about cost-saving and not operational quality
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 08:50
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by msbbarratt View Post
If the basis of the detect and avoid tech is going to include ADS-B, isn’t that just going to give the more dedicated criminals an advantage? For a start it’s surpassingly easy to hop onto Flight Radar 24 (or whatever) and see where it is. But it would also be very easy for a more professional criminal to have an ADS-B receiver, to get an instant warning of the presence of a police UAV free of any internet delays (and no internet trace either). Such a thing is well within the scope of the technical ability of organised crime gangs.

If that became a regular problem they might try using a random ADS-B id. But that mustn’t match another aircraft’s number and it would be trivial to spot new ADS-B ids in comparison with the entries in public databases.

Basically it’d be a tech arms race between cops and robbers, but the advantage would always be with the robbers. The UAV cameras wouldn’t ever find a single professional criminal because they’d be able to know it was coming into their area long before it could see them.

I don’t know if police helicopters emit ADS-B, but they’d probably have the option of switching it off if this ever became an issue.

ADS-B was used in the recent trial but is not part of the detect and avoid system that requires certification. In the operational environment ADS-B could be disabled. Operation within CAS can be acheived by use of the onboard Mode S SSR.

The Starliner variant of Hermes 900 is the model aimed at operation in Class G airspace. Using the link I provided on post 23 compare pictures of the Starliner and other Hermes 900 variants. The piggy backed radome houses a radar based detect and avoid system which is what requires certification, completely independant of other EC devices.

For the benefit of thread readers, please do not confuse current SUA (drones) used by emergency services with the Hermes 900. The current SUA/drones are not in the same league when it comes to search and detection capabilities, quite apart from the fact that Hermes900 has around 30 hours flight endurance if fully fuelled, not the endurance of minutes as is currently the case with SUA/drones.


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Old 16th Sep 2020, 09:47
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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It was, and generally still is the case that a fixed wing police resource can ‘cover’ about 3/4 of tasks (some less well) at about 1/2 the cost of a rotary wing. Commentary of ground pursuits being one particular challenge associated with a platform that is unable to hover, requiring considerable mental gymnastics from a commentator constantly in motion over the ground. Of course the majority of police assets are twins, which gives them flexibility over altitude. (As well as increased safety in the eyes of the public) Make them a single engined drone, and the required altitude increases. Not good when suspects are running/driving between or into buildings, that then require containment pending arrival of ground resources.

if the Elbit was going to be cheaper than a helicopter, then accountants would overlook it’s inferior prospects for effective policing. Make it the same price, or more expensive than a helicopter, and I have to ask, what’s the attraction?

The technology for military drones is not the same as that required for policing. It will be some time yet before drones can effectively replace helicopters. Remember also, in this country we police by consent. Tell the residents of Manchester or Liverpool, the police are using the same drone used by the Israelis over Gaza, and you may see a breakdown in that consent?

Of course the Home Office proves day in, day out, they have no understanding whatsoever of effective police air support. So who knows?
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 10:28
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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The Elbit is clearly going to be cheaper in terms of a DOC.... it only has one engine. But one engine is deemed not to be enough when operating over people in a town or city.

What the Elbit (Watchkeeper) also does not have is 'sense and avoid'.... just how long have we been promised that and waited for it? BAE used to have the Jetstream they were trialling sense and avoid in.... when did they announce complete success? They did not.

It, an unmanned system with sense and avoid, will come in time but I bet your retirement will come a darn sight quicker.

Operating a light quad drone over a city is one thing but the Elbit is a big lump and no risk averse politician or Chief Constable is going to put a single engine flying brick over a city when the pilot has a field of view that is akin to a toilet tube. So what happens when the engine fails? Any volunteers to land a ton of metal in Hyde Park on a sunny day [and not kill someone] or better still try it at night guided by a GPS reference and that toilet tube view. Nightmare on.

In the meantime, perhaps, the Elbit will work fine over the North Sea [English Channel] , the Scottish Highlands and Dartmoor but unfortunately there is little or no crime there to make such a massive investment worthwhile. After all Police Scotland baulked at the idea of buying into a far cheaper and more flexible manned fixed wing to cover the northern areas just a handful of years ago.

The NPAS role is not to fly over water. Current activity flying drones and fixed wing (including Watchkeeper) in support of the MCA effort to halt migrant boat arrivals is a necessary step in the development of drones over cities but do not get to thinking this is going to happen before 2030. At the moment the powers that be cannot even get the Emergency Services Network (ESN) a 'simple' radio system to work on time let alone stuff that flies!

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Old 16th Sep 2020, 11:11
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by PANews View Post
The Elbit is clearly going to be cheaper in terms of a DOC.... it only has one engine. But one engine is deemed not to be enough when operating over people in a town or city.

What the Elbit (Watchkeeper) also does not have is 'sense and avoid'.... just how long have we been promised that and waited for it? BAE used to have the Jetstream they were trialling sense and avoid in.... when did they announce complete success? They did not.
............
The NPAS role is not to fly over water. Current activity flying drones and fixed wing (including Watchkeeper) in support of the MCA effort to halt migrant boat arrivals is a necessary step in the development of drones over cities but do not get to thinking this is going to happen before 2030. At the moment the powers that be cannot even get the Emergency Services Network (ESN) a 'simple' radio system to work on time let alone stuff that flies!
We are not talking about Watchkeeper (nee Elbit Hermes 450) this again is a differant UAS, that requires considerably more ground support than Hermes 900. You can look at Hermes 900 as son of Hermes 450/Watchkeeper - it does may things that its father cannot, requiring minimal ground equipment including not requiring arrestor cables, Hermes 900 has brakes and can be taxied similar to a manned aircraft.
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 17:55
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Hermes 900 has brakes and can be taxied similar to a manned aircraft.
that'll help the night emergency landing in the middle of London..................................................
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 18:15
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
that'll help the night emergency landing in the middle of London..................................................
Don’t panic, for another $30M per unit, they will add another engine
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 19:16
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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I can't see the Hermes being good for anything other than open area searches or perhaps pre planned events like protests.
For your bulk standard 'intruders on' shout at 2am a smaller officer deployed drone makes more sense.
The main barrier to effective use of air support now is lack of ground units to contain areas prior to their arrival and during the search.

Last edited by Tashengurt; 17th Sep 2020 at 09:27.
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 10:16
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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I reckon that for the Elbit PR Department this has been a very good day at the office.If nothing else this press release by NPAS and Elbit have caught the imagination of the media. The story, in many variations, has been in a very wide range of publications. Most write up the story as if it’s a done deal and due for introduction in a month or so and a site called PoliticsHome say that ‘Plans by the National Police Air Service (NPAS) to use Israeli military-grade drones to replace helicopters and aeroplanes have raised concerns among privacy campaigners.’ Then they contrast the mission profile of a DJI Mavic 2 with its 29 minute battery life and need to be in sight of the operator with the Hermes 900 that can fly for up to 36 hours at altitudes of 30,000 feet. Not quite the same mission profile or indeed a related threat to privacy! If the protest industry gets their hackles up this could be like a good meal with many repeats!

For Elbit I reckon they have got their name up in lights across a large swathe of the media for very little cost.
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 10:37
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by PANews View Post
I reckon that for the Elbit PR Department this has been a very good day at the office.If nothing else this press release by NPAS and Elbit have caught the imagination of the media. The story, in many variations, has been in a very wide range of publications. Most write up the story as if it’s a done deal and due for introduction in a month or so and a site called PoliticsHome say that ‘Plans by the National Police Air Service (NPAS) to use Israeli military-grade drones to replace helicopters and aeroplanes have raised concerns among privacy campaigners.’ Then they contrast the mission profile of a DJI Mavic 2 with its 29 minute battery life and need to be in sight of the operator with the Hermes 900 that can fly for up to 36 hours at altitudes of 30,000 feet. Not quite the same mission profile or indeed a related threat to privacy! If the protest industry gets their hackles up this could be like a good meal with many repeats!

For Elbit I reckon they have got their name up in lights across a large swathe of the media for very little cost.
Agree with the sentiment. Elbit actually invested a considerable amount in making this happen, transporting the Hermes 900 from Israel to West Wales Airport and back together with its GCS and other support equipment needed quite a number of shipping containers. Added to that was the cost of securring CAA approval for Hermes 900 to fly in UK airspace and setting up the demonstration missions, UK consultants don't come cheap!

This could be a significant step towards routine operation of UAS (rather than toy drones) in UK airspace, just the detect and avoid system to certify.
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Old 18th Sep 2020, 11:10
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I recall the words spoken to me by a former criminal investigator who changed career after giving up because of the frustrations of the job. Company X would sell them the latest and greatest in intercepting radio calls from targeted criminal activities. In order for company X to maximise its profits they would then sell the criminals a new bit of kit to defeat the previous system. And on it went.

Why are UAVs any different.
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