VTC conducts tactical law enforcement training with no cell service using goTenna Pro X
VTC is a training center and equipment solutions provider for tactical and rescue professionals. Their courses include Night Vision Goggle (NVG) movement, long-range shooting, rope rescue training, medical certifications as well as custom courses based on agency requirements. Much of the training takes place in austere environments with little to no voice radio or cell phone connectivity.
Having the ability to track all of the trainees in an unpredictable terrain, in real time, was absolutely crucial, especially at night. When training law enforcement officers or military clients in the dark of night, the potential to engage in friendly fire is high. VTC was looking for a blue force tracking communications solution that would allow team members to see others on a map using automatic position location information (PLI) updates without having to rely on cell, satellite or voice radio communications. Cell service was either spotty or non-existent throughout the training area. The training center heard about how goTenna Pro X devices operate without access to traditional communications infrastructure from one of the military students in tactical training class.
During this field test, five VTC instructors brought six goTenna Pro X units for a law enforcement training class at the San Bernardino training grounds. Before departure, 12 students downloaded the goTenna Pro app and paired their goTenna Pro X devices to their iPhones. The end-users also brought along 480 MHz voice radios that they use on a daily basis.
The team of 12 students spread out across an area of approximately three square miles. The goTenna Pro X end-users were able to text and track each other within a max distance of 1.2 miles (2 km) in a foothill-type of terrain. The team of students was able to utilize the six goTenna Pro X units at one point or another during the exercise. As the team crawled up the more mountainous terrain, the maximum distance between each user within the mesh network became about .62 mile (1 km).
Without any wifi or cell service, the instructors and the students used the automatic PLI updates in order to track all of the participants in the training course. All participants were also able to use goTenna Pro app’s map-marking tool to mark danger areas and clear areas using rectangle colored markers.
goTenna Pro X users also noticed that their 480 MHz voice radios were limited by the terrain. Law enforcement agencies use repeaters, which causes a significant delay when it comes to the voice radios.
“It’s absolutely crucial to have the ability to search in real time. It’s why teams we were with were so ecstatic when it worked out. It was really important that we can track them from the liability standpoint as well.”
Director of Operations at VTC
VTC hopes to one day be able to upgrade to the goTenna Pro X Deployment Kit for their training exercises in order to be able store and deploy up to 30 VHF or UHF devices at a moment’s notice.