Persistent Overwatch Drone


The Persistent Overwatch Drone can help reduce transnational gang crime, detect signs of other threats, and empower first responders to help prevent dangerous situations from escalating.


Regions of vast terrain in the U.S. present unique challenges to the law enforcement agencies that cover the areas. Local law enforcement often lacks the financial and human resources needed to detect movement and locate activities (e.g., identifying suspicious behaviors or finding missing persons) in their jurisdictions.


MITRE’s Persistent Overwatch initiative aims to develop an inexpensive, repositionable, long flight-time drone with a sensor package that addresses both challenges. These drones will reliably detect potential or actual threats, such as those posed by criminal gangs, and transmit detailed images of what it observes and precise locations of the activity to the appropriate law enforcement agency. That knowledge helps local authorities evaluate which situations require immediate intervention.

Key Features:

  • Easy-to-fly vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) small UAS (uncrewed aircraft systems)
  • Automated detection and reporting of ground activities
  • Low cost (less than half the cost of a patrol car)
  • Easy to transport in standard vehicles

For more technical information, contact Steve King at For licensing opportunities, contact the MITRE Technology Transfer Office at