HAI Convention News

A bright light for your helo

 - September 28, 2006, 2:46 PM

An Australian company has developed a new searchlight that can illuminate a greater area from a longer distance, yet which is claimed to offer significant weight and cost advantages over the current industry standard. It is being launched here at Heli-Expo (Booth 4002).

The TrakkaBeam A800 tactical searchlight from VectorBeam Technologies is also fitted with a filter wheel that allows the crew to switch from ultraviolet, through visible spectrum in several colors to high (covert) infrared light. In practical terms, a law-enforcement helicopter can surreptitiously track a target using IR from a standoff height of, say, 2,000 feet, and then switch to brilliant visible light to flood it in for the capture phase.

VectorBeam executive Peter Muhlrad said the A800, which weighs less than 18 pounds and costs $24,000, also offers a far wider beam than conventional lamps. “TrakkaBeam uses a Xenon lamp and the energy is more evenly dispersed throughout the entire target plane–even at the edges. More usable energy means fewer lost targets.”

TrakkaBeam is mounted on a two-axis stabilized gimbal. It is undergoing DO160 environmental certification and completes trials with Sweden’s Stockholm police force this week. Muhlrad said initial feedback about the searchlight has been “very encouraging.”