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Bidding will get underway next month for the contract to provide the United Nations its first unarmed surveillance drone.
By LUKE VARGAS
UNITED NATIONS (TRNS) – The United Nations is currently soliciting bids for the procurement of the body’s first unarmed surveillance drone.
Bid number RFPS-1794 from the U.N.’s Procurement Division details a request for “provision of one (1) unmanned aerial system (UAS) for three (3) years plus two (2) optional years” in support of the ongoing U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Security Council decided last month that the use of of surveillance drones would enhance the effectiveness of its peacekeeping operations in the DRC’s eastern territories, where the M23 rebel group has continued to pose a security risk and limit the authority of the country’s army.
While the inclusion of drones in the U.N.’s peacekeeping strategy seems a logical move given the surveillance limitations of ground forces, the world body has typically played the role of reporting the harmful effects of drones.
Just this week, a U.N. report found that the increased use of armed drones by the United States in 2012 resulted in 16 civilian deaths in Afghanistan, a jump from only one in 2011.
In addition to the UAS request, the U.N. is concurrently soliciting bids on geospatial image interpretation services to “extract topographic features and information,” presumably from the aforementioned drone.