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UAVs to Replace Police Helicopters?

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UAVs to Replace Police Helicopters?

Old 15th Sep 2020, 09:27
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Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
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UAVs to Replace Police Helicopters?

From POLITICO.....

Also on Priti’s radar … is this announcement slipped out last night revealing ministers are considering using drones to replace police helicopters in England and Wales. Early trials of the Israeli Elbit Hermes 900 drone have been a success and the Home Office is determining whether police should be able to use them in the skies instead of choppers. One to ask the home secretary this morning....
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 09:54
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Anyone not expecting this is a bit deluded to be honest...
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 10:03
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With the aircraft manufacturer, Elbit Industries, having also apparently solved the Holy Grail of UAS operations in Class G airspace, a "detect and avoid" capability, the flood gates could finally be opened for general use of UAS.

Last edited by TCAS FAN; 15th Sep 2020 at 11:31. Reason: technical correction
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 10:12
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Must agree with Riga above. In general, if the helicopter flight does not reed/require the pilot/crew then that type of flying will be UAV in the future.

Example: looking at a pipeline – UAV; actually fixing the pipeline – helicopter.

Regarding police units; how often do police pilots land their helicopter and get out and do “police stuff”. I think the answer results in increased UAV police flying in the future. An EC145 is an expensive way to just to have a look.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 10:39
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I wonder how they'll deal with separation if a particular tasking requires the drone to be flown inside a CTR...
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 10:51
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I don't think they can mount a gun or a Taser on the Elbit Hermes 900, but no doubt the Reaper is under consideration.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 11:01
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Originally Posted by RMK View Post
Regarding police units; how often do police pilots land their helicopter and get out and do “police stuff”.
Never - or hardly ever - in the UK anyway. The pilots are civilians but the police crew are Tactical Flight Officers, qualified cops who know what the cops on the ground are doing and why, so as to help and guide them. Agreed that a UAV can do the observing equally well so long as it has the horses to carry the necessary equipment - high-power light, steerable camera and so on - but it'd surely need to be able to hover over a crime scene, so I don't see why they're using the Elbit Hermes 900 in this role, unless orbiting is good enough
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 11:27
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An EC145 is an expensive way to just to have a look.
Exactly! Don't get me wrong twins are great but it's bloody hard to get past the capability and versatility of a B3 squirrel (of which you could fund at least a couple for the price of a 145). We may well have priced ourselves out of the market sadly.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 11:31
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In 6 years of police flying, I landed the chopper once to grab some juvenile escapees from a prison farm, who had stolen an RX-7 and had ended up in a semi-rural dead end street. Landed on the street to block their exit, the observer (who was a real cop) detained them until ground support arrived to do the actual arrest.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 11:39
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The reason for a certified "detect and avoid" system is that the UAS can detect and avoid conflicting traffic/bird concentrations/parachutists/ para gliders etc, just as if it was being navigated visually. If it can do that in Class G airspace, Class D presents no problem for UAS to be operated in accordance with VFR, albeit it will be able to do it more efficiently than the MK1 eyeball of a manned aircraft pilot. The UAS is controlled by a Remote Pilot who communicates with ATC on the appropriate RTF frequency to obtain CAS entry clearance.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 11:46
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So, all they will need to do is have not quite enough UAVs in not quite the required locations with not quite the needed response time and they will have replaced NPAS completely
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 12:16
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Originally Posted by Evil Twin View Post
An EC145 is an expensive way to just to have a look.
Exactly! Don't get me wrong twins are great but it's bloody hard to get past the capability and versatility of a B3 squirrel (of which you could fund at least a couple for the price of a 145). We may well have priced ourselves out of the market sadly.
Police helicopters often need to hover at low level over populated areas. In many countries twin engines are required for that category of operation.
By the way, police nowadays tend to use the H145 with fenestron.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 12:41
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Hopefully they are cheaper than the military variants which seem to be in the region of $42M each.
Suddenly an H145 seems like a real bargain.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 13:01
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Originally Posted by OldLurker View Post
Police helicopters often need to hover at low level over populated areas. In many countries twin engines are required for that category of operation.
By the way, police nowadays tend to use the H145 with fenestron.
Not in UK they don’t. Mainly EC135P/T2+ and some BK-117 C2
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 13:29
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This has been debated over and over. Go see NPAS forums etc.
On first glance, it might look tremendously cheaper than "real" chopper. But, please, has someone made a realistic calculation of the cost and compare it with the capability of such UAS system? There still needs to be quite a number of people on the ground, to operate and maintain it, there are operational limitations (can someone explain further how to operate in controlled airspace which is plenty in UK?) I seriously doubt this (or any comparable) UAS will last thousands and thousands of hours, so please include realistic lifespan in calculation too.
Am sure UAS will come in bigger numbers (Canada RCMP "mounties" operate by far the largest police UAS fleet, not to mention Turkish police, that runs serious UAS outfits, albeit in a way that might not work in EU airspace/legislative standards...) but are not (yet) a direct replacement for manned police aircraft.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 13:49
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Another "benefit" of a UAV, is that the politicians can't use it as a taxi. Some years ago I knew some folks at the police aviation unit for a major US city that were well overdue for helo upgrade, but they deliberately stuck with their clapped out twin seater, because they knew that if they upgraded to a nice multi seat turbine, the Mayor would summon it as their personal taxi to jaunt off to the capital.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 14:26
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A cautionary tale about mixing airborne law enforcement resources:

UAV / Helicopter Midair Collision
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 15:29
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Originally Posted by helisdw View Post
A cautionary tale about mixing airborne law enforcement resources:

UAV / Helicopter Midair Collision
The subject report refers to a 2.4 KG RPAS (drone), something akin to what you'd buy online or at Curry PC World. It bears no relationship to the Hermes 900 that is referred to in this thread.

As I have already stated the current Holy Grail is a "detect and avoid" system which enables the UAS (or RPAS as it may referred to, "UAV" is an obsolete term) to detect a confliction and then avoids it. Note the UAS takes the avoiding action to resolve the confliction.

There is no way that a 2.4 KG RPAS is equipped with anything resembling a detect and avoid system. It relies on the Remote Pilot to keep it within visual line of sight (VLOS) so that traffic conflictions can be resolved.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 16:05
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Originally Posted by TCAS FAN View Post
The subject report refers to a 2.4 KG RPAS (drone), something akin to what you'd buy online or at Curry PC World. It bears no relationship to the Hermes 900 that is referred to in this thread.

As I have already stated the current Holy Grail is a "detect and avoid" system which enables the UAS (or RPAS as it may referred to, "UAV" is an obsolete term) to detect a confliction and then avoids it. Note the UAS takes the avoiding action to resolve the confliction.

There is no way that a 2.4 KG RPAS is equipped with anything resembling a detect and avoid system. It relies on the Remote Pilot to keep it within visual line of sight (VLOS) so that traffic conflictions can be resolved.
Taking your argument to it’s logical conclusion, then this report is equally not applicable as it involved a single engine AS350 / H125 / Squirrel / Ecureuil / AStar (delete obsolete term as appropriate) and not a helicopter type representative of current UK police aviation services.

My only intention of highlighting the Canadian accident was the mixing of technologies, both novel and established - nothing more, nothing less.

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.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 17:20
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With the aircraft manufacturer, Elbit Industries, having also apparently solved the Holy Grail of UAS operations in Class G airspace, a "detect and avoid" capability
If that were the case one might expect it to be trumpeted on their website somewhere. I can't find it - is it like a certain PM's 'moonshot' ?

Would be interesting to see the public's reaction to constant surveillance by drones - sorry UAS - it's one thing having a copper looking into your back garden but quite another to have an anonymous sensor with data going to who knows where overhead so much of the time. That is what the LE stands for in MALE isn't it? Long Endurance?
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