QUANTICO, Va. --- It was the great mystery of the Seal Team 6 mission to kill terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.
Did the DEVGRU door kickers have helmet cams to record their daring raid?
The Pentagon and everyone else said "No." But we all know that's a bunch of bull.
Cameras had become ubiquitous on the helmets of infantrymen even before the 2011 raid, and even pilots and other military specialties are jumping on the bandwagon. Big time movies and television series have been built on the backs of helmet cam footage, with GoPro and Contour cameras the primary options for troops in the field.
But their use has applications beyond chronicling the heat and grit of combat, with units increasingly using helmet camera footage for battle damage assessment and intelligence gathering.
That's where the new Elite Ops Camera from MOHOC comes in.
Developed exclusively for high-speed operations where low profile and bomber durability are a must, the Elite Ops Camera has a curved housing that fits to the contours of a trooper's helmet. The camera can endure a drop of six feet, is waterproof to 30 feet and has been jump tested, company officials say.
"We set out to build a military-ruggedized camera for extreme durability," said MOHOC sales rep Eric Dobbie during an interview at the 2016 Modern Day Marine exposition here.
"I Like to call it the Panasonic Toughbook of cameras."
Sure, there are several point-of-view cameras out there, but many are delicate and aren't optimized for military missions. MOHOC has designed the Elite Ops Camera from the ground up with the warfighter in mind, Dobbie said, with an oversized on-off button and both a tone and vibration to alert the operator that the camera is up and running.
The MOHOC Elite Ops Camera has large buttons for operation with gloved hands. It also vibrates when the camera begins recording so troops can tell when it's on — even in loud environments. (Photo from MOHOC)
There's even a rechargeable internal battery and a slot for two CR-123s, so running low on juice won't be a problem.
The Elite Ops Camera features a short-range wifi capability that connects with a smartphone app to view videos and check framing, and the camera can take stills with a press of a button. There's even an infrared version of the Elite Ops Camera that records in black and white and automatically switches from light to IR mode.
"This works great as a training tool, for sensitive sight exploitation, combat camera and explosive ordnance disposal missions," Dobbie said. "One of our biggest markets is with anyone that jumps out of a plane because we're a snag-free option."