Eyes On Target

SWAT GEEK Review

SWAT GEEK’s GOTUR6 Helps you…

See It, move to it, get through it, stop it, secure it, protect me from it.

With

Proxdynamics PD-100 Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System

The Company

Proxdynamics is a Norwegian based company with a US presence right off the beltway of our nation’s capital. It’s a tight nit company with 70 employees that has been leading the Nano unmanned aerial systems market since it started production of the PD-100 for the UK military in 2011. Current operations in the US are focused primarily on military applications with in roads being made with the Department of Homeland Security for special law enforcement and security uses.

A company that’s keen to not over extend itself, Proxdynamics maintains it’s expertise in the field and builds on it’s experience putting the end product of this methodology in the hands of the people who need it.

The Gear

At first glance the PD-100 Black Hornet looks like a cool flying R/C you play with in a mall, but this is a feather weight at 18 grams that has the punch of a heavy weight in the ring of aerial surveillance drones. At the size and weight of a micro toy helicopter the Black Hornet has an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance package of a UAV  more than 20 times its size. So this is gear more suited for James Bond than your local mall hopper.

Man portable, the Black Hornet functions as a true operator born sensor that can be deployed to see what’s hiding on the roof or waiting in ambush on the other side of the fence. And since it is so small the PD-100 is a hard target to detect or hit which comes in handy during critical missions where you don’t want your “eyes” shot out just when you need them most.

The complete system comes with three components, the base station with directional hand controller which houses the CPU, stores the UAVs, and recharges them, the 7 inch monitor, and two ready to fly Black Hornet UAVs.

Since cameras that move take up more space, consume more power, and add more weight, Proxdynamics solves this problem with three cameras mounted on the nose; one for forward observation, 45 degree angle, and top down view. The user interface makes transitioning from one view to another a breeze with a graphic illustration of the camera and angle being used.

The cameras are in HD and send a live feed to the operator and as an added benefit still photos can be taken for further review. All can be done with the screen within screen view option on the monitor. With the addition of the night vision thermal image capable Black Hornet-T that began production in August 2014 Proxdynamics is maintaining its edge in the NUAS arena.

The Black Hornet is a GPS based operating system so as long as there’s a connection it’s ready to fly and with a operational range of 1 mile it will fly far ahead into a hot zone. The endurance level is high for it’s size as well with an operational time of up to 25 minutes on a 30 minute full charge. The ability to set way points makes the Black Hornet even more useful for operations that could involve multiple points along a route.

In the case Murphy steps in and turns plan A to plan FOBAR the Black Hornet will attempt to reconnect if the signal from the base station is lost, elevating up to 60 feet to reacquire and if that fails it will return to the position of the base station. In the case a Hornet goes down there is both a GPS based search mode in addition to an audible beep that can be activated in an effort to recover it, leading you or whom ever you want to draw toward its direction.

SWAT GEEK View

This flying surveillance system definitely falls in the category of “better to have and not need than need and not have” and can be a valuable part of the tool box either as an organic in house asset if the budget allows or as a usable loaner from a nearby Military unit or federal government agency you and your department have a relationship with. 

In either case at a minimum the Black Hornet can serve as the perimeter reconnaissance asset for a mobile tactical command post putting an aerial surveillance capability directly in the hands of the team on the ground, employable at a moment’s notice and able to take a closer look at any hazard or threat that lurks ahead.

Any time you can put your eyes on target fast without giving your head as collateral it’s a good thing, and Proxdynamics has a really good thing going for it with the PD-100 Black Hornet.

 

CJ Lucas

SWAT GEEK