Honeywell's RQ-16 T-hawk drone joins Florida police force.

The anti-terror surveillance device will make its domestic debut in Miami.

1 min read
Honeywell's RQ-16 T-hawk drone joins Florida police force.

The Miami-Dade police department has purchased a T-Hawk drone from the military contractor, Honeywell, and is now awaiting FAA approval to operate it in domestic airspaces.

WSVN news in Florida reported on the acquisition here last week, but seems to have used images of the wrong drone, a General Atomics creation called the Predator. The T-Hawk is a far less nefarious cousin of the Predator. It's a camera-equipped, unmanned aerial vehicle originally developed by Honeywell as a surveillance drone to be used in anti-terror campaigns. It weighs 17 pounds and can fly at an altitude of 10,000 feet for more than 40 minutes, according to Honeywell.

The T-Hawk has been used by the British Ministry of Defense in Afghanistan to scout out particularly threatening bits of terrain. But, if the FAA gives it the green light, its duties in Miami will likely be quite different—aiding SWAT teams and search and rescue operations.

Drones have proved to be a politically volatile issue in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the news that they will soon be used as a domestic surveillance tool is already drawing criticism. As with similar technological expansions, the concerns have to do with privacy and with how much money was spent.

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Two men fix metal rods to a gold-foiled satellite component in a warehouse/clean room environment

Technicians at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., work on a mockup of the JWST spacecraft bus—home of the observatory’s power, flight, data, and communications systems.

NASA

For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

When the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveals its first images on 12 July, they will be the by-product of carefully crafted mirrors and scientific instruments. But all of its data-collecting prowess would be moot without the spacecraft’s communications subsystem.

The Webb’s comms aren’t flashy. Rather, the data and communication systems are designed to be incredibly, unquestionably dependable and reliable. And while some aspects of them are relatively new—it’s the first mission to use Ka-band frequencies for such high data rates so far from Earth, for example—above all else, JWST’s comms provide the foundation upon which JWST’s scientific endeavors sit.

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