Five bidders to contest Finnish UAV deal

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Finland's defence ministry has issued a request for quotation to five bidders in a competition to select a mini unmanned air vehicle for the nation's army. The bidders responded to a request for information late last year and have demonstrated their systems in Finland.

In contention are the BlueBird SpyLite, EADS DRAC, Elbit Systems Skylark, Israel Aerospace Industries EyeView-650 and the Rafael-promoted Aeronautics Defense Systems Orbiter.

Finland plans to acquire 30-45 UAV systems that will include between 120 and 176 air vehicles, with the deal to have a value of around $25 million.

The bidders are due to submit their responses by the end of February 2011, with Helsinki expected to narrow its shortlist to two types for a final competitive stage next April.