Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chicago Tribune: Italian firm to provide surveillance drone for U.N. in Congo

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations said on Thursday it has procured an unarmed surveillance drone from Italian defense electronics firm Selex ES, a unit of Finmeccanica, that will be deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the coming weeks.

It will be the first time the United Nations has used such equipment and, if the trial use by peacekeepers in eastern Congo is successful, officials and diplomats also hope the drones could be used by missions in Ivory Coast and South Sudan.

"Unarmed UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) will allow our peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo to monitor the movements of armed groups and protect the civilian population more efficiently," U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters.

"The selected vendor is the Italian company Selex ES. The UAV is known as the Falco and 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," Nesirky said.

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