Boulder SWAT Uses NTtv During Training

Boulder SWAT

Henry here again with another trip report. Kopis was invited by the City of Boulder, Colorado’s SWAT Team to test our Networked Tactical Television.  Our host was Commander Greg LeFabre, a Denver-area native who has been in law enforcement throughout a distinguished career.

The weather was clear and sunny. The temperature was a cool 20 degrees. Snow covered the ground of a ranch house owned by the city’s Open Space and Mountain Parks. The location served as an excellent spot for a hostage scenario incident site.

The SWAT Team established an operations center at the main access road. Several role players found their positions at a house on the back side of a hill.

NTtv was quickly deployed in multiple locations. One system served as the primary link to the operations center. One served as a mobile link via the SWAT team leader who wore a MOHOC camera on his helmet.

NTtv kit on SWAT member

The third system served as an overwatch fixed camera.  Finally, a fourth system was slung beneath a drone to serve as an airborne relay.

The command element was able to watch the video streams from one rugged tablet.

NTtv in action Boulder, CO
Team watching the viewing stream

We were very happy with the cold-weather performance of the system overall, especially battery duration.

For the afternoon scenario, the team deployed NTtv in a tree at the crest of the hill. As you can see in the video clip, the NTtv relay covered a large area. It enabled real time video from the MOHOC helmet-mounted cameras to stream virtually anywhere in and around the incident site.

This clip shows the tree emplacement. Video is transmitted essentially by the NTtv encoders ‘talking’ to each other over a secure network they establish themselves.

There is no need to be connected to any external WiFi network. This is super handy when working in remote locations like what you see in the videos.

Commander LeFabre and his guys were great hosts and really put the system through its paces. We started the company 5 years ago with the idea that we could develop products to improve the lives of military, law enforcement, and first responders. We couldn’t do it without their input during exercises like this.

Jumping with the 6th Ranger Battalion

Our last blog post was about the use of our FastForm 1306 system by the jump administrators and jump masters for the 6th Ranger Training Battalion.  Andrew and I (Henry) were impressed by the professionalism and thoroughness of our contacts at 6RTB. A big thanks to our partners at 4K Solutions for setting this up. Here are a few “behind the scenes” photos and video of the jump day, with a little color commentary. You can click the link in the parentheses to watch the videos.

We joined up with the cadre jumpers from the 6RTB and a few guys from 4RTB and 5RTB near the tarmac, where there’s a shed to provide a little cover.

Waiting to load

Waiting on the bird

A C-130 from the Connecticut Air National Guard flew over from the main Eglin airfield, getting in an Assault Landing and then pulling up nearby. (video of C-130 arriving)

After some prep time, it was time for the first lift to load up!

The Commanding Officer of 6RTB loaded up last to be the first one out of the door (I don’t blame him – that’s gotta be the best view!) and the door closed up and the taxi to the nearby runway began.

The C-130 did a short field takeoff, (Loaded C-130 taking off) and basically had to kill 20 minutes of flight time to give the jumpers the necessary prep time once in the air.

Headed right back at us, the C-130 dropped off its first Pass of jumpers – five out of the right door and five out of the left.

There were two more passes on this Lift, and then another Lift with a couple of passes after that. All good, and all captured in the manifest put together by the FastForm system.

On our way out, we made a quick stop at the Gator Pen. (Gator pen at 6RTB)  Can anyone tell me why there are two sets of bleachers at the Pen? What sort of show goes on there?!?

Thank you, men and women of 6RTB, for what you do. Rangers Lead the Way!

Using Fast Form 1306 At A Training Jump

Andrew and I were excited to be a part of the monthly admin jump at the 6th Ranger Training Battalion  this week. For those who don’t know, the 6RTB is where the third and final phase of Ranger School is conducted. It is what’s known as the Jungle Phase and is at Eglin AFB in the Florida panhandle. Jungle Phase is often considered the most difficult mental phase – and they are all difficult.

Ranger School
Henry at Camp James E. Rudder

The guys there were excellent hosts as they tested our FastForm 1306  product for creating jump manifests. We’ll have a follow-up blog post with some background photos and videos of the jump, for those who’ve never had the opportunity to be around something like this, or if you have jumped at Camp Rudder and would like a little nostalgia.

This post is about the nuts and bolts of using FastForm 1306 and how it can make a difference for jump masters and jump administrators like the SSG and MSG we worked with at 6RTB. Our SSG contact spent a few hours earlier in the week putting together, like he always does, a draft of the 1306 using the best info he had available – which is always incomplete.

Then, as the jump gets closer, he has to update it by hand and then go back and forth with new print-outs. I took a photo of one of the last versions, just before the jump, and you can see the changes even up to the last minute.
Jump Manifest
Because they hadn’t used our FastForm 1306 system before, our 6RTB contacts asked us to be there the day before when they would have a walk-through of who was jumping.

We set up the software for the jump zone, aircraft, and jumping organizations in about 10 minutes (which won’t have to be done again) and swiped in all the jumpers – about 5 to 10 seconds each – in less than 10 minutes. We printed out 1306’s from the wireless printer – enough that we ended up blowing through all our ink.

The next day, we returned with the tablets and were able to update all changes quickly in the software. The final result was a very clean, ready to submit, DD Form 1306 and a .csv file for any other purposes.

The old-fashioned way: at least a couple of hours spent on the days prior to the jump, an hour on jump day with handwritten changes on soggy paper, and an hour after the jump to straighten it out and make copies. No CSV file, no PDF ready to send to the PJs, AJs, flight crew, etc. Rinse and repeat.

The 21st Century way: swipe the jumpers as they show up for prep (10 minutes per 100 jumpers), put them in the chalks as desired (20 minutes), and make digital changes until jump time (10 minutes). Get a crystal clear 1306 PDF and a CSV file with accurate name, grade, DOD ID, unit, and jump type. Spend time on something other than paperwork!

A big thanks to our partners at 4K Solutions for setting this up.
The United States Army | Fort Benning