IC Realtime has developed a silent, rapidly-deployable aerial surveillance solution designed to provide law enforcement, border patrol and special event personnel the ability to remotely monitor events taking place in large areas. 

Called PLAS (Persistent Low Altitude Surveillance), the solution comprises a flight deck and imaging unit attached to a tactical-grade balloon that is released into the air by security personnel on the ground via a carbon fiber power tether/mini CAT6 cable. PLAS may also be battery-operated.

PLAS can be used stationary or attached to personnel or vehicles to move about areas of interest. Because the system requires no propulsion, its silent operation makes it advantageous for drone hunting/deterring operations. While normally flown at 250 feet, it can be deployed as high as 455 feet. 

The PLAS flight deck is a 6- x 3- x 3-inch carbon fiber housing that contains all command, control and communications equipment (i.e., the brains for the system), as well as on-board microphones for drone detection. These integrated components provide encrypted communications to either fixed or mobile command center(s) as well as authorized mobile users. Total weight of the flight deck including an imaging unit is five pounds.

PLAS is compatible with any of IC Realtime’s video, thermal imaging and infrared cameras. Air sampling sensors such as CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense) can also be deployed through the PLAS on-board network connection. At present PLAS is delivered with an IC Realtime I-Sniper nighttime camera (0.0 lux light handling capability). 

Communications are sent by point-to-multipoint 5.8 GHz or public safety frequencies. Transmission is sent via IP connectivity (as opposed to traditional remote control), which makes it possible for one operator to control multiple PLAS systems at once (for example, a wide variety of control commands, or pan, tilt, and zoom of cameras, etc.), the company described.

The system is both industrial- and tactical-grade. Designed by Altametry Aerostatic Engineering located in Miami, it comprises an inner bladder and outer balloon that has a 6-foot circumference. Depending on the mission, the balloon is filled with either hydrogen or helium.

Ideal applications for PLAS include border protection, emergency management/natural disasters and security, public safety, and intrusion defense at large-scale special events. 

PLAS was recently flown at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, the Homestead Motor Speedway Sprint Cup, the Fort Lauderdale international Boat Show, the Daytona 500 race and ULTRA Festival in South Beach, Fla.

At the 2017 ISC West tradeshow, PLAS will be demonstrated live from above IC Realtime’s exhibit booth (#16059).