> our title:

Selex Touts UN Peacekeeping’s Falco UAV

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Focus On: United Nations Peacekeeping

(Source: Selex ES; issued Dec. 4, 2013)

On 3 December 2013, the Selex ES Falco Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) took to the air to begin its role supporting the United Nation (UN) peacekeeping operations (MONUSCO) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

As announced earlier in year, Selex ES was award a 3 year contract for the Falco UAS to provide information gathering and surveillance capability to the UN operations along the Rwandan and Ugandan borders.

The Falco is an unarmed mission-proven medium altitude, medium endurance UAV capable of operating from semi-prepared airstrips with fully automated take off, landing and mission execution capability.

The vehicles for the UN peacekeeping missions were transported from Italy with the support of the Italian Air Force on-board a C130J aircraft operated by the Pisa-based 46th Aerobrigade. The flight took off on Wednesday 13th November from Pisa airport and stopped in Luxur, Egypt, and Nairobi, Kenya for platform maintenance. The C130J arrived and unloaded the Falco at Goma Airport in Congo on Friday 15th November.

The platform was selected for the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC because of its proven ability to perform long endurance surveillance missions, its outstanding availability, ease of deployment and excellent track record in service operations. They have a range of 250km (155 miles) from their base in Goma with the possibility of a greater surveillance range with the addition of further bases that can easily be set up.

Already in operation with four international customers, the Falco UAS fully meets the UN's requirements and will guarantee long-term missions by providing a tactical overview of the operational scenario in real time.

The deployment of the Falco UAS is also the first time that the UN has contracted with a civilian operator to provide UAV technology to aid its humanitarian mandate.

UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told reporters that the unarmed UAS would be the "tool of choice" to monitor the activities of armed forces and the movement of civilians.

He added that if successful in the DRC, they could also be used in other UN peacekeeping missions.