Selex ES is to supply a Falco unmanned air system to support UN peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, under a potentially five-year deal.
The UN on 1 August confirmed that its Department of Peacekeeping Operations has selected the European supplier for a requirement to support the MONUSCO mission. "The deployment of the UAV is planned in coming weeks," the organisation says, while describing the activity as a "trial use".
"The use of unarmed UAVs will allow UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo to monitor the movements of armed groups and protect the civilian population more efficiently, particularly in the country's eastern region," the UN says. "The UAV will be operated by the contractor under the strict control and security of the UN, with all data provided exclusively to the peacekeeping mission concerned."
Selected in July, following an evaluation process conducted by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Falco is "capable of carrying a range of payloads, including several types of high-resolution sensors," the UN says. Its choice follows a process during which 25 suppliers from 11 nations sent representatives to the African nation, it adds.
The UN on 5 August valued its contract with Selex at €10 million ($13 million) per year for an initial three-year period, with an option to extend the arrangement by a further two years.
Selex confirms the UN announcement about its selection for the requirement, but declines to comment further about the deal or equipment package at this time. The company has previously supplied its baseline Falco to customers including Pakistan, with the UAS having a 490kg (1,080lb) maximum take-off weight, including a 70kg payload, and an operating endurance of up to 14h. An enhanced Falco Evo variant is also in development.
Headquartered in Kinshasa, the MONUSCO force comprises more than 20,400 personnel, including almost 18,500 troops from 50 countries, according to UN data.