The single unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) the United Nations will deploy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for peacekeeping purposes is to cost the world body over 13 million US dollars a year, a UN spokesman said on Monday.
The UAV is expected to be deployed in the coming weeks, Martin Nesirky told reporters here.
“It’s going to cost 10 million euros (about $13.25 million) a year for a contract lasting three years initially with an option for two further years,” he said. “Twenty-five companies from 11 countries visited the DRC to familiarize themselves with the area and the (UN) mission’s operations, and then a number of these companies later made proposals as requested by the (UN) Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).”
“Their proposals were evaluated in line with established procedures and requirements and then in July, at the end of its evaluation, the DPKO reported, as we’ve said, that it’s selected the Italian company Selex ES as the vendor to procure its mission in the DRC one unarmed UAV known as the Falco,” the spokesman added.
Last week, Nesirky announced the selection of Selex ES, saying that the Falco is designed to be a medium-altitude, medium- endurance surveillance platform capable of carrying a range of payloads, including several types of high resolution sensors.
He said that the use of the unarmed UAV would allow peacekeepers to monitor the movements of armed groups and protect the civilian population more efficiently, particularly in the African country’s eastern region.
“The UAV will be operated by the contractor under the strict control and security of the United Nations with all data provided exclusively to the peacekeeping mission concerned, which is MONUSCO (the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC),” he added.
The DRC is known for its vast areas without roads, many of them accessible by rivers only.