NJ Sheriff’s to Pioneer Indago UAS with Project Lifesaver (See in Action)

Lives are at stake when individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, Autism and Down syndrome wander from their homes.

Project Lifesaver International is a public safety nonprofit organization that works with first responders to return these individuals to their homes or facilities, and the organization has conducted more than 3,000 rescues in the past 16 years.

Time is critical when people are missing, and airborne search and rescue can be costly and time consuming.

To address this challenge, Lockheed Martin has integrated an antenna and receiver with the Indago quadrotor unmanned aerial system (UAS), which can be stored in any squad car and deployed in less than 5 minutes.

Using Indago extends Project Lifesaver agencies’ search areas from one and a half miles to well over seven miles.

(This multi-mission payload combines the capabilities to record and live-stream data with a smooth, stable video capability in any weather condition. It features onboard vision processing technology which provides a click-to-track functionality. When conducting surveillance or inspection missions, the payload reduces the workload of the operator with advanced autonomy. Courtesy of Lockheed Martin and YouTube)

The vertical takeoff and landing UAS provides an eye-in-the-sky that is suited for urban or heavily forested areas because it does not require a large space to takeoff or land.

Indago is a safe and effective airborne search and rescue tool that can be used in all weather, even when manned aircraft are grounded.

The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office is first in the country to use the Project Lifesaver Indago unmanned aerial system (UAS). (Image Credit: Lockheed Martin)
The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office is first in the country to use the Project Lifesaver Indago unmanned aerial system (UAS). (Image Credit: Lockheed Martin)

New Jersey Sheriff’s agencies are poised to be the first to use the Lockheed Martin Indago quadrotor small unmanned aerial system (UAS) to perform search and rescue (SAR) operations as a part of the Project Lifesaver International (PLI) program.

Deputies participated in training on the system earlier this year on the Indago system, paired with Project Lifesaver’s electronic location equipment used by first responders to find special needs individuals who may wander.

Upon receiving a distress call, operators can rapidly deploy Indago to locate missing individuals.

Sheriff’s offices in New Jersey and Virginia have added the PLI Indago to their inventories, with additional first response agencies soon to join the ranks.

Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano

“The Indago UAS will allow us to increase our capabilities in locating a client who has wandered,” said Somerset County New Jersey Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano, who oversees the first sheriff’s office in the country to adopt the Indago system.

“This new asset will give us the ability to search even more efficiently over a broader area and will increase the probability of a successful recovery.”

Somerset County has 40 clients enrolled in Project Lifesaver: 23 children who have autism or Down syndrome and 17 adults who have dementia.

Gene Saunders, Founder and CEO of Project Lifesaver

“The Indago will give Project Lifesaver agency members the ability to have an airborne asset available quickly to enhance their search capability in bringing loved ones home,” said Gene Saunders, Founder and CEO of Project Lifesaver.

First responders have relied on manned aircraft to conduct aerial search and rescue operations.

Indago reduces the response time and increases the efficiency of search efforts when time is critical. The 5-lb., collapsible Indago system can be stored in the trunk of any squad car and deployed within a matter of minutes.


All agencies interested in Indago training and certification must first complete the Project Lifesaver Electronic Search Specialist (ESS) Basic Operators Ground course if they are not a Project Lifesaver member agency.

The Project Lifesaver/Lockheed Martin UAV Program includes:

  • The Indago quad rotor UAV with a Project Lifesaver receiver and antenna
  • Indago operator flight training, Indago UAV flight certification, and instruction for Indago routine maintenance for 3 operators (travel expenses not included)
  • Training will be conducted by Project Lifesaver certified, licensed rotary wing and UAV pilot
  • All training will be held in Dothan, Alabama (Dale County)
  • Information will be provided in helping you complete and apply for your 333 or Certificate of Authorization (COA) through the FAA

What is included with the PLI/LM Indago 2 system?

  • The PLI/LM Indago 2 UAV
  • The PLI Receiver and Antenna Payload
  • A Digital Hand Controller
  • VCP software
  • One battery and System Charger
  • Optional spare parts for additional cost

The Project Lifesaver/Lockheed Martin Indago UAV extends search areas from approximately one and a half miles at hover to over two miles above the tree line, offering an affordable alternative to manned aviation assets.

There are also a number of payload options available for purchase that will allow you to use Indago for other public safety uses. These payloads are all hot swappable and offer quick real time changes.

Indago can be used by any Project Lifesaver trained and certified first responder agency.


  • Re-certification is not required for the Project Lifesaver/Lockheed Martin Indago
  • FAA certification must be received prior to flying within your agency territory
  • Project Lifesaver Indago trained and certified operators must fly within the FAA guidelines
  • The Project Lifesaver/Lockheed Martin Indago UAV is available to Project Lifesaver member agencies at a special price.
Rich Bonnett, Indago program manager, Lockheed Martin unmanned systems
Rich Bonnett, Indago program manager, Lockheed Martin unmanned systems

“Coupling the Project Lifesaver antenna and control elements with the Indago system expands signal detectability, serves as an airborne relay, and greatly improves the probability of location success across broad search areas,” said Rich Bonnett, Indago program manager, Lockheed Martin unmanned systems.

“This innovative technology is available for Project Lifesaver agents to further their important public safety mission, and more importantly, to reunite individuals with their families and caretakers.”

Indago is used in tasks spanning firefighting, disaster relief, precision agriculture and coastal erosion monitoring. The proven and reliable system has an industry-leading flight time surpassing 45 minutes, and provides high quality data with an electro-optic infrared gimbaled imager to enhance situational awareness and enable real-time decision-making.

Lockheed Martin has five decades of experience in unmanned and autonomous systems for air, land and sea. From the depths of the ocean to the rarified air of the stratosphere, Lockheed Martin’s unmanned systems help our military, civil and commercial customers accomplish their most difficult challenges.

Project Lifesaver International (PLI) is a 501 (C) (3) community based, public safety, non-profit organization that provides law enforcement, fire/rescue, other first responders and caregivers with equipment and training to quickly locate and rescue individuals with cognitive disorders who are prone to the life threatening behavior of wandering, including those with Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, and Down syndrome.

To date Project Lifesaver agencies have conducted over 3,254 successful rescues. Most who wander are found within a few miles from home, and search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes.

Recovery times for PLI clients average 30 minutes — 95% less time than standard operations.

For more information, questions on pricing, training,  please contact Project Lifesaver International’s Special Projects Division at Project Lifesaver Headquarters by phone 772-446-1275.