using drones for scanning the area

Tools and equipment to get the job done.
Post Reply
greasyassman
Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:50 am
Contact:

using drones for scanning the area

Post by greasyassman » Mon Oct 05, 2020 4:11 am

drones with cameras on them, its called fpv. there are ones that can fit very small spaces.
search up "mini whoop" them things small asf, and if high enough won't be loud.
just an idea
8)

User avatar
Xanatos
Moderator
Posts: 2606
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:51 am
Location: The last place you look.
Contact:

Re: using drones for scanning the area

Post by Xanatos » Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:43 am

This is a REALLY old-school idea, but the technology for it has become way better & cheaper. I haven't used aerial reconnaissance yet (aside from Google Earth), but does anyone else have experience using 'drones' for surveillance or recon?
We are all books containing thousands of pages and within each lies an irreparable truth.
What is locked, can be opened. What is hidden, can be found. What is yours... can be mine.

User avatar
Psychlonic
Member
Posts: 1093
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:30 am
Location: Earth
Contact:

Re: using drones for scanning the area

Post by Psychlonic » Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:05 pm

More necromancy; I haven't used my current drone on a night op but I use it to check around me during hikes in tight spots I tend to find myself in to save some time - things I'd normally have to go climb up to in order to see, usually finding nothing. Most drones you'll be looking at doing some electrical work as they've got LEDs all over. You could cover them if you can think of a way to securely do so. They work great, mine is a folding prop design that fits into my pocket and you can slot a phone into the controller. Or, you could slip the phone into a portable headset and use VR to get a bit more depth perception while flying around.

Considerations;

First, plan on practicing a lot. They're easy to fly in usual conditions but when you're wanting to check out small areas especially at night and from cover, it'll be a whole new ball game. This is super important because the second point is,

If you drop it out of the sky you get to play fetch. Depending on where you flew the drone, this can become a massive chore. This is a critical consideration unless you want to leave your drone just laying around the infiltration area (you don't).

Battery life is short, so again with practice and establishing procedures. Mine gets about 7 minutes flight time so to err on the side of caution I bring it back at the half way point. But, the little fucker is super fast so this is usually more than enough time for me to scope my surroundings, check out a little alcove in rocks, etc. Night ops should be treated the same way.

Lastly, using a screen to view the camera will ruin your natural night vision and set you back to square one. It's worth considering if this trade off is going to be acceptable and timing your drone work around this. If you are running pure recon, maybe do it last before leaving. Or, if you're wanting to recon a target of opportunity, do it immediately and give yourself time to recover your night vision before getting into a position where good eyes will be most useful.
Knowledge alone is not power, it is the potential for power. That potential can only be unlocked through applying that knowledge and realizing the skill.

User avatar
Xanatos
Moderator
Posts: 2606
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:51 am
Location: The last place you look.
Contact:

Re: using drones for scanning the area

Post by Xanatos » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:25 pm

Or look at the screen with one eye closed. The old 'Pirate' trick.
We are all books containing thousands of pages and within each lies an irreparable truth.
What is locked, can be opened. What is hidden, can be found. What is yours... can be mine.

MustacheOperator
Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat May 22, 2021 2:45 am
Contact:

Re: using drones for scanning the area

Post by MustacheOperator » Sat May 22, 2021 3:04 am

I apologize for resurrecting such an old topic. However, I felt I may have some useful information to add here.

At this time, I have two quad rotor + one fixed wing UAS employed primarily for reconnaissance and pre-mission intelligence. One is a DJI Spark, boasting an approximate 15 minute run-time. The other, which I would prefer not to disclose, gives a 30-40 minute endurance. The third is a Parrot Disco FW, modified to fly BLOS and provides 4+ hours overhead persistence before, during and after the mission is completed. Because I do not require a constant control link, I am able to keep a small mobile phone or tablet in my kit, to easily pull up a live overhead sitrep.

I recommend the Parrot to you peeps, for numerous reasons, but primarily cost. Compared to the Spark and the other DJI model, the Disco is considerably cheaper and will give you a far longer endurance. It can also easily be equipped with electronics, such as the WiFi pineapple, Raspberry Pi, GPS L1/L2 jammers (careful with these if you are using an autonomous flight mode), VHF/UHF jammers, etc. A small IR strobe can also be given to teammates to activate *only when* tracking is required. Yes, this can be accomplished using radios...but unless you are using encrypted communications (not that CTSS crap) then it is just an out-of-band method to communicate position information with your team (assuming you operate with a team).

Now, there are several shortcomings of any sUAS system during nighttime operations. Primarily it is greatly limited to viewing illuminated areas/objects. Fortunately, this includes most vehicles, buildings, streets, etc. I would steer clear of using FLIR type systems, despite their relatively lower cost they aren't as useful as you would think off-hand. If you really want to increase your visibility, consider using hand-deployed IR illumination.

There are also some benefits here as well... because these sUAS generate very little heat, they are difficult to detect using ground-based FLIR systems. And since they are generally made of lightweight foam or plastic, they have no radar return whatsoever allowing you to put them in fairly scary places. Be careful here, obviously.

As others have said here, don't expect to fly the sUAS system while engaged in any sensitive activities. You want to fly it from somewhere safe (best bet) or at least in the area of operations out of the way.

Otherwise, be sure to cover all external light sources, fly as high as needed to reduce the audible signature, don't have any public association with the AC, so on and so forth. PRACTICE flying at night. PRACTICE landing at night. Practice orbiting a target, practice strafing a target, pursuing a moving target and evading ground based assets that could potentially threaten your small unmanned AC system. Bonus points if you practice evading airborne threats (other UAS, law enforcement helos, etc)

Light of day operations will see a little more utility in them. Since the theme of this board is "night operations" I won't go far into detail here...but one trick I have learned is to fly as high as needed to avoid the audible signature of the AC (generally lower thanks to higher ambient daytime noise). Then, find any object and determine the direction of its shadow. Next, place your drone in between the sun and the target, facing this direction, with the bright sun at your UAS' back. This will make spotting your UAS in daylight very difficult for a ground based target. Personally, I prefer collecting all ISR material during daylight hours. Movements of security, non-combatants, etc can be collected through more traditional recce techniques at night.

Always use your equipment to your advantage. And be wary that *anything* that emits radio signatures can potentially be tracked if your adversary is technically capable. Using repeaters and relays can somewhat mitigate this threat, but lighting up ANY part of the EM spectrum will be obvious to a technically capable adversary.

User avatar
Sicarius
Member
Posts: 428
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:50 pm
Location: Possibly on a distant Mediterranean shore... one day
Contact:

Re: using drones for scanning the area

Post by Sicarius » Sat May 22, 2021 4:43 am

My research into drones was limited, but this helped some, thanks. I think drones have a place in recon especially, but the main hindrance is high cost and low visibility
"If one cannot be both, it is much better to be feared than loved" - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

saysf
Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2022 4:00 pm
Contact:

Re: using drones for scanning the area

Post by saysf » Fri Nov 25, 2022 4:09 pm

There is still some radar cross section even with an EPO foam fixed wing. The battery will show up on an appropriate radar sensor, for example. But, for the purposes required here, it has no RCS.

I use a custom built drone based on the Skywalker X8 (https://www.readymaderc.com/products/de ... el-x8-wing) but it is a bit finicky. Discos rock and if you can get one, go with it.

There are some interesting cellular radio links available now which have some interesting advantages if you have cell coverage in the operational area.

Post Reply