New Technology Ups the Speed, Connectivity and Mobility for First Responders

First Responder Technology

For first responders, a single misinterpretation can put lives at risk. A single minute can be the difference between safety and danger. Efficiency and connectivity are crucial to the lifesaving work of first responders in our communities.

From assessment, to planning to action, the technology that Lockheed Martin is working on – and partnering with others on – is helping to support first responders in your community across their entire mission.



coastal erosion The image was taken by an Indago unmanned aerial system in 2015 as it monitored coastal erosion patterns along the Australian Seabird coastline. Photo courtesy of Heliwest.

Allowing first responders to identify and respond to an issue before it becomes a crisis is an important use for unmanned technology.

First responders can use unmanned technology to map neighborhoods before and after disasters to identify where critical infrastructure may be damaged. Unmanned aircraft like the Indago quadrotor can enter fragile or hazardous areas and locations that traditional aircraft and ground vehicles can’t get to.


Indago The Indago quadrotor unmanned aircraft system gives military and civil users an eye-in-the-sky hovering capability that provides continuous 360-degree panning and multispectral imaging.




Amid the chaos of natural and manmade disasters, first responders from various agencies may have a hard time acting quickly if their equipment and resources are not designed with mobility and connectivity in mind.

“The biggest challenge first responders have during a natural disaster is not having the ability to quickly set up a mobile command center and coordinate with agencies on multiple levels,” said Lockheed Martin senior capture manager John Olsen.

Depending on the disaster, agencies may be involved from the local, state or even federal levels, and span fire departments, emergency medical services, law enforcement and relief organizations like the Red Cross.

And while it’s great to have all of these resources available, Olsen said, each agency may have radios or telephones that are incompatible with other devices, hindering communications efforts when it matters most.

Connecting all emergency services is the goal of the Universal Communications Platform, or UCP. The technology behind the UCP transforms any radio system into a fully IP-based network – facilitating, monitoring, and allowing control and dispatch from any location with a network connection and a smart phone, laptop or PC.

“With the Universal Communications Platform in place, first responders can now connect to one infrastructure, increasing the communications network with other agencies to increase response time with rescue efforts,” said Olsen, who is also a member of the Tioga County Sheriff’s Department Emergency Response Team, and a deputy fire coordinator for Special Operations in Owego, New York.



After a response team deploys, there is still a need to recover.

Lockheed Martin’s infrastructure analytics technology streamlines and automates the process of identifying downed power lines, broken utility poles and flooded areas.

“New technology allows us to capture data using a high tech sensor pod mounted on a helicopter,” said Bob Zendarski, senior manager of Distribution Technologies at Lockheed Martin UK. “The sensor pod is able to capture detailed three-dimensional imagery and HD video. Through our analytics, we can now provide damage information more quickly, more affordably and more accurately to utilities, municipalities and first responder agencies, which helps speed recovery.”

(Right) After data is captured by the helicopter-sensor pod, Lockheed Martin’s infrastructure analytics technology uses the aerial imagery to identify areas of high concern and provide analytics to first responders.

Infrastructure Analytics Technology


First responders have long relied on manned aircraft to conduct aerial search and rescue operations. Now, Lockheed Martin has partnered with Project Lifesaver International to bring unmanned capabilities to humanitarian search and rescue efforts for children and vulnerable adults prone to wandering.

The Indago, which can feature an innovative lightweight antenna and receiver, is now available for Project Lifesaver agencies to rapidly locate special needs individuals who have wandered from their homes.

“Indago’s ability to provide an eye-in-the-sky in just minutes enables first responders to increase their effectiveness in locating wandering persons and reuniting them with their families,” said Jay McConville, director of business development for Lockheed Martin Unmanned Systems.

“Indago can be unfolded and deployed within five minutes, as opposed to traditional manned aircraft that require pre-flight preparation before being deployed.”