By Chris Stonor
This week during an introductory drone demonstration in Nassau for the Bahamas National Unmanned Aerial Programme (BNUAP), the Minister of National Security, Marvin Dames, told the gathering, “This is all a part of our government’s collective plan to integrate drone technology to assist the personnel out there in the field.” He then added, “These are not your Walmart drones. These are craft with tremendous capabilities and we hope to integrate a lot of technology into them.”
According to ewnews.com, Dames sees them as a new and major part of a Bahamas National Security initiative to assist all law-enforcement agencies under his Ministry’s oversight. He went on to explain that “the combination of short-range and medium-range drones would serve to merge the four physical dimensions of sea, land, air and space.” Explaining ,“The information collected in real-time will aid in increased detection, tracking and apprehension capabilities, and the monitoring of individuals in custody for law enforcement agencies.” The aim is to complete the order of the drones by next year.
Marvin Dames Speaking
Dames then gave an example of deployment for the Shot Spotter Project as well as general crime fighting and pointed to the fact that the training of Bahamian officers was an integral part of the unmanned craft program.
He continued, “We are working on the establishment of an academy – a service academy, an academy of excellence – that we hope to provide training not only within The Bahamas, but throughout the Caribbean. And with these drones and the training that our officers will receive, this puts us at the forefront.” Adding, “We are on the cusp of some very pioneering work, and we are excited about it.”
The drones showcased at the demonstration included the Nest, the Blimp, the Quadcopter and the Deep Trekker. According to the Ministry, the Nest is an automated standalone Hexcopter system with a 55-minute endurance flying time. This will be linked with the police force’s Shot Spotter detection system, allowing for quicker response times by the force for criminal activity, accident investigation, crowd control and the monitoring of large public events.
The Blimp is a tethered drone, shaped like a dirigible aircraft, that is to be anchored 600 ft above the ground. It is 17 ft long and has an eight-hour endurance flying time. The craft will be used by the Department of Corrections as well as at the Detention Centre, manned by the Department of Immigration, allowing daily monitoring of both facilities. The drone also has potential use for the monitoring of public events and of inbound cruise ships sailing to port facilities on New Providence and other areas of entry in to the country.
The Quadcopter has a 45-minute endurance flying time and, due to its size, can be transported in law enforcement vehicles and deployed in less than five minutes. It can also be launched from a police cruiser during criminal investigations or accident reconstruction, on-board RBDF ships for vessel-boarding search and seizure (VBSS) operations and for search and rescue (SARS) operations on land and sea.
Finally, the Deep Trekker is an underwater drone with an eight-hour endurance time. This will be used as a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to inspect all cruise and cargo ships for contraband when entering the port of Nassau and other entry points in the country. It will also be deployed to search for lost items at depths of up to 645 ft, and will inspect underwater pillars or infrastructure not easily accessible by other means than from the sea.
The Ministry of National Security noted that all of the drones would be remote controlled using a ground station device.
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(News Source: https://ewnews.com)