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Democratic Republic of Congo: UN drones control the skies above African nations01:04

Democratic Republic of Congo: UN drones control the skies above African nations

Congo, the Democratic Republic of the, Goma
December 4, 2013 at 21:58 GMT +00:00 · Published

Democratic Republic of Congo: UN drones control the skies above African nations

The United Nations peacekeeping force in Goma, in the northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), officially unveiled a fleet of drone aircraft designed to keep tabs on militias and armed groups crossing the volatile border between the DRC and Rwanda. Up to five unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be in action at any time once the programme gets underway, with only two of the Italian-built models currently operational, shown in these pictures courtesy of UNifeed.

"The United Nations has entered the 21st century from the technological point of view," said Herve Ladsous, the UN under-secretary for peacekeeping operations. "This is something we never had but this is now in use in many armies around the world and many organisations. I think we had to get it to allow our people to do a better job in the fulfilment of their mandates."

The UN will deploy the Falco aircraft, designed and built by Selex ES, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica. Boasting a maximum speed of 216 km/h (134 mph) and a flight ceiling of 6,500m (21,000ft), the Falco can carry a payload of 70kg attached to two under-wing hardpoints. The UAV can mount high-res camera and night-vision systems, radar and other sensors, as well as a laser designator for precision weapon strikes.

The UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC has been supporting government forces in their campaign against M23 opposition militants, who UN reports have said are supplied and armed by Rwanda. UN officials say the next target will be the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Hutu-aligned armed group.

NOTE: UNifeed content is for news purposes only and may not be sold or redistributed to third parties.

Democratic Republic of Congo: UN drones control the skies above African nations01:04
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Democratic Republic of Congo: UN drones control the skies above African nations

The United Nations peacekeeping force in Goma, in the northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), officially unveiled a fleet of drone aircraft designed to keep tabs on militias and armed groups crossing the volatile border between the DRC and Rwanda. Up to five unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be in action at any time once the programme gets underway, with only two of the Italian-built models currently operational, shown in these pictures courtesy of UNifeed.

"The United Nations has entered the 21st century from the technological point of view," said Herve Ladsous, the UN under-secretary for peacekeeping operations. "This is something we never had but this is now in use in many armies around the world and many organisations. I think we had to get it to allow our people to do a better job in the fulfilment of their mandates."

The UN will deploy the Falco aircraft, designed and built by Selex ES, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica. Boasting a maximum speed of 216 km/h (134 mph) and a flight ceiling of 6,500m (21,000ft), the Falco can carry a payload of 70kg attached to two under-wing hardpoints. The UAV can mount high-res camera and night-vision systems, radar and other sensors, as well as a laser designator for precision weapon strikes.

The UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC has been supporting government forces in their campaign against M23 opposition militants, who UN reports have said are supplied and armed by Rwanda. UN officials say the next target will be the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Hutu-aligned armed group.

NOTE: UNifeed content is for news purposes only and may not be sold or redistributed to third parties.

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