More and more government entities are using drone technology to aid their operations. Unmanned Aerial Systems are applied to law enforcement, firefighting, surveillance of hostile area’s by defense, the list goes on and on and is getting longer still.
Drones as small as insects
It was announced only last week that the Dutch Ministry of Defense has bought a number of UAV’s, also known as ‘Black Hornets’ to support search, rescue and reconnaissance missions executed by the Dutch Armed Forces and Marine Corps. The Black Hornet, which can fly for about 25 minutes (1.5 kilometers) on a quiet electric motor, with a rotor span 120 mm and weighing 18 grams including camera’s, is ideal for reconnaissance missions due to it’s light weight and compact measurements.
Dutch daily newspaper Algemeen Dagblad writes that the Black Hornet doesn’t only makes work easier, it’s a potential lifesaver. “We can work much safer, because we can keep an eye on our targets while they cannot see us, '' said Commander Jon van het Brigade Reconnaissance Eskadron in an interview. The armed forces of Great Britain, Norway and Germany are early adopters, they have been using the device for some time.
Drones for defense
The Black Hornet is not the first unmanned aircraft that is used by the Dutch army. The reconnaissance units are using drones that can keep an eye on an entire area for hours and at high altitude. They also own a number of remote-controlled aircrafts that can fly within a range of 7 kilometers. On top of that, the Dutch air force is developing their own drone called ‘The Reaper’, which will be used, starting 2022, for reconnaissance flights.
Firefighting with drones
The Dutch Fire brigade hasn’t been lacking behind. The Netherlands will be setting up a nationwide network of drone pilots that will be available for fast deployment 24/7 in case of emergency. The fire brigade of Twente (a region in the eastern Netherlands) has been using drones since 2016 but plans are now made for full coverage within The Netherlands. These developments are to be expected soon. Last September 2017, a declaration of intent was signed by the Dutch Fire brigage, police and Ministry of Defense, with regards to future collaboration on drone operations. The fire department wants to be able to deploy fire fighting drones within an hour in case of incidents and in order to achieve this, collaboration between these three players is key.
The fire brigade has been testing drones for fighting fires for quite some time already. Those drones are equipped with regular and heat vision cameras in order to create a better image of the fire at hand. Eventually, the brigade wishes to add smoke-detecting sensors, which are able to analyse the smoke, so that harmful substances can be detected in an early stage, explained Stephan Wevers, chairman of the Dutch Fire brigade to BNR. Last April, firefighters demonstrated their newest first responder drone that includes a new heat-seeking drone camera manufactured by DJI.
Martijn Zagwijn - Dutch Fire Brigade demonstrates new first responder-drone.