UAVs in Public Security and Civil Defense

UAVs in Public Security and Civil Defense

By Dialogo
August 23, 2012

Recently in the U.S., more than forty institutions were granted permission to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), among them many police departments and private security companies. For the time being, the drones will be used in rural and less populated areas until the laws are more comprehensive. There are currently 50 companies developing over 140 different models. This drive is the result of the 2015 deadline given to the Federal Aviation Administration, counterpart to National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) of Brazil, to integrate the UAVs into North American airspace.

With this initiative, it is expected that countries that are part of the International Civil Aviation Organization will adapt the enacted legislation in each of their respective countries, including Brazil, which already has an initial regulation promoting the use of these aircrafts in their less populated theater of operations.

The 2010 Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) No. 21, which replaced the 2009 AIC document No. 29, supports the use of UAVs in Brazilian Airspace. The Department of Airspace Control edited and adopted both documents. Additionally, the ANAC decision from circular No. 127 of Nov. 29, 2011 has already authorized the use of UAV devices by the Brazilian Federal Police Department (DPF). This step by ANAC suggested that local Brazilian police can follow the same path as the DPF.


In joint operations conducted by the Brazilian Armed Forces, state police and firefighters in 2011, better known as Operations Serrana and Três Picos, UAVs flew into places where the use of helicopters would be discouraged due to strong winds. These events demonstrated the synergy between various military departments and civil servants of the Military Institute of Engineering (IME), Military Police of Bahia (PMBA), Rio de Janeiro Military Police (PMERJ), and the Rio de Janeiro Military Firefighters (CBMERJ) during the natural disasters that drastically affected Rio de Janeiro. The UAV used was the Lanu III, an electric aircraft remotely controlled by hand, that has autonomy for approximately one hour of flight, with a range of about 12.4 miles. It is controlled by three people and is extremely portable. Lanu III operation is facilitated by a pilot using a First Person View, which provides the pilot a view as if he were inside the aircraft.

The Lanu III is being developed by IME, with funding from the Research Support Foundation of Rio de Janeiro in order to equip PMERJ. The units are allocated for the Battalion of Special Police Operations and CBMERJ for use in civil defense missions. However, it is believed that the use of UAVs will be broadened, because an officer of the PMBA has been evaluating the UAVs for a variety of uses such as the fight against bank robberies and drug trafficking, monitoring fires, environmental crimes, highway patrol and prison riots.

Additionally, Lanu III has demonstrated a new culture (in Brazil) of developing equipment focused on the country’s needs for public safety and civil defense. Future users collaborate with research and innovative technology institutions, making use of public funds and avoiding unnecessary purchases of imported goods. The creators’ goal is to find a common platform suitable to various police and firefighters institutions, which should bring advantages to the logistics, such as parts, as well as operational safety, provided by training courses developed specifically for pilots, managers and other specialists on various mission critical subsystems of the UAV. (To be continued)

2.2.22 UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)
An aerial vehicle designed to operate without a pilot onboard. It has an embedded payload and is not used for purely recreational purposes. This definition includes all planes, helicopters and aircraft controllable in three axes, excluding, however, traditional balloons and model aircraft. CONCLUSION: Model airplanes with FPV / OSD (first-person view with on-screen display), are not considered UAVs (Just like not every UAV is a DRONE, but all DRONES are UAVs). These model airplanes controlled by Radio Control, RC, piloted with the help of cameras, do not fit this definition, despite having a radio frequency pilot system.