Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Aviation Systems

Major Professor

John F. Muratore

Committee Members

Richard Ranaudo, George W. Garrison


A modern day airborne law enforcement helicopter is an exercise in compromise. Applying a Systems Engineering approach to selecting and outfitting a helicopter for airborne law enforcement can bring order to the process. The Suffolk County Police Aviation Section of New York was used as an example agency profile in analyzing mission requirements, establishing constraints, and analyzing alternatives. A benchmark survey was established for use in comparison.

Benchmark trends indicated power margin and useful load as the primary performance requirements of an airborne platform with a primary mission of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and a secondary mission of patrol. EMS requirements indicated the optimal airframe was a twin engine, while optimal for the patrol mission was single engine. Lack of mission systems integration with the airframe was the largest deficiency cited with reference to equipment. Thorough analysis of interfaces identified areas of systems integration that required special consideration.

Current fleet deficiencies in power margin and useful load may be the result of over-laden aircraft, as opposed to underpowered airframes. Distinctions were made between goals and requirements. Analysis of subsystems resulted in suggestions of reduced mission profile weights for performance gains. Alternatives were examined by developing a grid analysis tool. A need was established for professional training of locallevel airborne law enforcement personnel in systems test and evaluation.

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