Coastguard deploys unmanned helicopter to patrol southern seas

[Courtesy of Coast Guard]

SEOUL — The South Korean Coast Guard has deployed an unmanned surveillance helicopter on a 1,500-ton patrol boat to monitor coastlines and rescue operations. The robot helicopter has built-in cameras and sensors, making it more versatile for maritime operations than multi-helicopter drones.

The National Maritime Police Agency said in a statement on May 17 that an unmanned helicopter called “VELOS V2” was deployed on a patrol boat operated by its regional headquarters in the southern port city of Busan. VELOS V2, made by American drone manufacturer Velos Rotors, can fly up to 130 kilometers per hour and cover an area of ​​up to 20 kilometers in radius.

To increase the area of ​​operation and effectively utilize drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and unmanned helicopters in rescue operations, the Coast Guard has established a dedicated department designed to train drone pilots. The VELOS V2 pilots completed their training course in April. Simulation devices will be used for training.

“We will continue to hold training sessions to train pilots so that every person is capable of using a drone in an emergency at sea,” a coastguard official said. The Coast Guard would operate 49 multi-helicopters, 15 drones and three unmanned helicopters for surveillance of illegal activities and search and rescue missions at sea.

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