How this UAV, purpose-built for tactical law enforcement, has the features you need to clear a building more safely
By Dustin Dodd for Police1 BrandFocus
“It is more important to outthink your enemy than to outfight him.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
There is one question that will assuredly be asked during the planning of every tactical operation. It does not matter if the operation is a probation search, parole search, a search warrant or a SWAT deployment. It is only a matter of time until the question of “Who’s on point?” or “Who has eyes on?” will make its way to the forefront.
Law enforcement has incorporated robots in tactical environments for years. Robots have given SWAT operators and bomb technicians the ability to make entry into structures, clear rooms and communicate directly to individuals within the structure, as well as to deliver various payloads to address problems encountered or overcome resistance. The ability to achieve these goals remotely has drastically increased safety during some of the most highly volatile situations encountered daily across the nation.
But robots are often large, cumbersome and difficult to maneuver in confined spaces, which hamstrings their full tactical application from being truly realized. I can tell you that it is very easy (and embarrassing) to get a robot stuck in a cluttered urban environment. It can also be very difficult to free it. Avoiding unnecessary problems, like very expensive entry team roadblocks or trip hazards, is a necessity, especially in a high-risk situation.
Having accurate, real-time information on the target or the target location is vital to minimizing risk to the safety of all involved (citizens, officers and suspects) while maximizing the likelihood of mission success. The law enforcement community at large quickly integrated the technological advancements of unmanned aerial vehicles (better known as drones) to achieve this, essentially dedicating an unrelenting, ever-vigilant electric eye that cannot be distracted and is only limited by its battery life.
GO BEYOND EYES ON THE SCENE WITH A DRONE PURPOSE-BUILT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT
The ability to gather the information critical to the mission and then transition to a fully functional entry tool would be a tactical force multiplier. The folks over at BRINC Drones, several of whom are former operators, realized this. After years of study and consultation with law enforcement, the company has launched their new Lemur S tactical drone.
Brinc’s founder, Blake Resnick, was inspired to create a better tool for law enforcement after the deadly mass shooting during the Route 91 Harvest Festival in 2017. He spent six months with Las Vegas SWAT going on more than two dozen callouts and applied what he learned directly into the Lemur’s design. The result is a robust, versatile, multi-faceted tactical solution with the needs of modern operators in focus, built right here in the USA.
Comprised of a CNC-machined carbon fiber frame and 3D printed custom carbon fiber reinforced nylon body, the durable waterproof airframe (it will fly even in the rain or snow) of the Lemur S fully encloses the rotors, enabling the aircraft to absorb inadvertent impacts, as well as open doors.
But why stop at doors? The Lemur S features a tungsten carbide glass-breaking tool attachment, which allows it to serve as a remote breacher. The tested tool has proved effective against tempered, automotive and most residential glass.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the same thing. If I fly a drone into a window and break the glass, won’t the drone crash? The answer is yes. It might, can and probably will crash, with or without breaking glass. But anticipating the crashes that will surely occur, BRINC has designed the Lemur S with a self-righting feature, called Turtle Mode. Turtle Mode enables the drone to flip over and resume flight so a crash won’t end the mission.
The Lemur S is stealthy. With no exterior lighting, it is nearly invisible in low-light conditions. Once in place, the drone can perch at a specific location, providing audio and video surveillance on a target for up to 10 hours.
The durable Lemur S has also been drop tested. Its 2.4-pound body provides nimble navigation but has been shown to withstand a drop from 40 feet and remain operational.
HOW DOES THE LEMUR S DRONE WORK?
The pilot operates the Lemur S via a handheld controller with a 7-inch LCD screen. The ergonomically designed unit transmits to the drone through an AES 128-bit fully encrypted signal. Using an integrated top-of-the-line VR headset with near-zero latency, the pilot will be able to maintain superior focus with complete mission immersion.
The onboard cameras of the Lemur S can send high-definition video (at 60 frames per second) to the pilot and to command stations, providing real-time intelligence and room clearing capabilities simultaneously. The 1080p wide-angle lens provides a wide field of view and includes a built-in night-vision system with infrared illuminators, allowing the pilot to fly under all lighting conditions. Evidentiary footage captured by the unit is stored locally on the onboard MicroSD card, with a redundant copy in the pilot’s VR headset.
Most drones aren’t designed for indoor use, limiting their potential use in breaching situations, but the Lemur S is built to fly indoors and in tight spaces. The powerful battery supports a high-penetration signal, which allows for maximum mission flexibility with a range of up to 8 miles. It also provides enough juice to fly for 31 minutes and only needs 45 minutes to achieve a 90% charge.
The Lemur S can also deliver a payload when needed. Remotely deploying payloads can greatly enhance the safety of any tactical team while slowing down a high-risk situation, and the Lemur S is ready to deploy in 45 seconds.
USING A DRONE FOR DE-ESCALATION
This non-weaponized tactical drone was designed with the goal of de-escalating high-risk, high-stress environments. The Lemur S has an integrated two-way microphone and speaker system, allowing for crisis negotiators to communicate directly to individuals involved in the high-risk situation. Low latency, cellular-based audio enables communication while the speaker can push out a deafening 106 dB sound pressure level (at 1 meter) and can be heard from up to 500 feet away if the situation calls for it.
The Lemur S has no geofencing limitations and can be used virtually anywhere. There is no need to apply any firmware updates, nor does it need any cellular phone applications to operate.
The Lemur S from BRINC Drones is a versatile tool that can have an immediate impact in high-risk environments. Law enforcement is seeking solutions to de-escalate situations while improving safety. The Lemur S just might redefine “breacher up.