Paladin EXT - LTE for DJI

The Paladin EXT Module allows the DJI M300 and M30 to be controlled over LTE using the Watchtower platform. The result is a BVLOS capable drone that can fly behind obstructions and out of range of the DJI remote controller without fear of losing connection so long as there is an active cellular network. Through Watchtower, operators can both autonomously and manually control the UAV from a computer allowing for quick on scene drone response. While a department can station Visual Observers on a rooftop to inspect the airspace and still utilize the range benefits of the LTE, there is no need. Instead, departments can utilize existing personnel in the field ie Firefighters, officers who are trained to be Visual Observer’s (VO) and are in constant radio-communication with the RPIC at the homebase.

The following is an overview of the Paladin DFR trial including FAA regulations, equipment needed, personnel needed, duration, and the overall goal.

What Paladin Will Provide

  • Trial Length: 6 weeks
  • Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Waiver Acquisition
  • EXT Module which fastens to the top of the M300 or M30T provided by the department. For clarity, Paladin will not provide an aircraft.
  • Access to Watchtower where all DFR operations, data management, and streaming takes place. 
  • Beyond Visual Line of Sight Waiver from the FAA, which allows for the PIC to not maintain visual line of sight of the UAV.
  • Training: This will take place virtually on a Paladin aircraft with one or more members of the Paladin team.

Again, the expectation is that the operators are already intimately familiar with their DJI equipment and all that is needed is training on flying BVLOS, abiding by FAA regulations, and how to operate the Watchtower software.

The Goal

The ultimate goal is feedback and data. As a company, we want to get this technology into the hands of experienced operators who will give us feedback on what is great and what can be improved in order to provide the best tool for first responders. We also would like to collect the data – response times, calls cleared, qualitative benefits to the department, and safe and successful BVLOS missions.

For the department, the data will serve as a stepping stone to starting a full scale DFR program in which it becomes part of the foundation of how the department operates like we’ve seen multiple times in the past. Beyond Paladin, Drone as a First Responder can only be adopted if it actually helps. While we have numerous success stories, different landscapes, different ways of operating, and different personnel levels all yield more data to the rest of the country.


  • Each department who participates must own or purchase a DJI M300 or M30T. The EXT module currently interfaces with only these aircraft. 
  • Each department must have experienced operators. While starting a DFR program can be more simple than a manual drone program, for the purposes of this trial, only experienced operators may participate.
  • Bonus: The department already has a COA or JCOA. This is a fantastic foundation for having true BVLOS.

Personnel Needed

Each BVLOS flight requires two participants. The first is the PIC, who may be stationed anywhere with a computer. They are responsible for the flight in its entirety, including controls, safe BVLOS missions, launch, RTH.

The second is a Visual Observer (VO) who observes the airspace and is in constant radio communication with the Remote PIC. The RPIC does not need to maintain visual line of sight (VLOS). Flying BVLOS safely and successfully is a change from typical programs hence the need for experienced operators in this trial period.

Department Expectations

Each department is expected to:

  • Fly 10 missions per week – Elizabeth PD in New Jersey flies an average of 100 soon to be approximately 175 with a 7 day a week program.
  • Attend a monthly Paladin meeting in which all participants of the trial will attend across the country to give feedback, talk about the tech, and learn about the new products coming out and how to use them.
  • Attend a biweekly meeting one-on-one to provide feedback and ask questions with a member of the Paladin Team.
    Report bugs, malfunctions, and feedback to a Paladin team member in a timely manner to ensure safe flights
  • Abide by the Privacy and Ethics Policy below.

Privacy Policy and Code of Ethics

The following principles are held core to Paladin. In order to enact good in the world, we must all work together to ensure we do not lose sight of the fundamental rights that keep our communities strong. Our technology is designed to empower first responders with information that helps keep both them and their communities safer. Any use of this technology that counteracts that hurts our collective mission. The purpose of this document is to be unmistakably clear about how Paladin’s products are to be used. Paladin reserves the right to terminate any business relationship, should it be deemed necessary, in light of breaches regarding the below points in its Privacy Policy and Code of Ethics.

To this effect, this department guarantees that it will abide by the below principles for the entirety of using any and all Paladin systems, including the software and hardware, as well as parts thereof.


  1. We will not fly beyond visual line of sight, unless we have a BVLOS waiver.
  2. The drones will only be piloted by trained DFR pilots.
  3. We will train the visual observers on what their duties entail and how to monitor the airspace effectively.
  4. We will establish an effective means of communication between visual observers and pilots in command, as well as potential remote pilots in command, defined as effectively mitigating the risk of the drone becoming an obstacle to any other airborne vehicles.
  5. We will abide by federal and state laws with regard to data storage.
  6. We will not share the live video feed with anyone outside of the department and solely with relevant persons within the department.
  7. We will not in any form use the drone as a weapon, including but not limited to attaching projectiles, explosives, or other harmful substances and technologies.
  8. We will not use the drone for routine patrols. The drone is only responding to requests for service that would populate a CAD item or specific predetermined mission sets, such as overwatch on a controlled buy. No routine patrols.
  9. The camera will be angled parallel to the ground while traveling to and from missions unless it is in search of a specific incident or person of interest (missing person, armed suspect).
  10. We will ensure that surrounding air traffic control towers, airports, operators of helicopters and private airports are aware of our drone operations, should they not be aware yet.
  11. We will aim to communicate with the local community with respect to the nature and goals of the DFR program.