Chile's Lascar unmanned aircraft prototype made its first flight on 23 November in the country's Bío region. The aircraft, the country's first unmanned air vehicle, has been in development since 2008 and was designed by the Chilean army in conjunction with the University of Concepción and the private sector.
"It gives us a lot of pride and satisfaction to see how the army, our Army of Chile, in conjunction with the University of Concepción, a magnificent and traditional institution of this region, and the private sector come together to develop an unmanned aircraft that will allow us so much in a country with so many challenges in terms of natural disasters," says Rodrigo Hinzpeter, Chile's defence minister.
Chilean Defence Ministry
The aircraft is being developed primarily to monitor water resources, fisheries stocks, fires, and volcanic activity, Chile's defence ministry says. It would also be used to help during natural disasters or rescue operations.
"In Chile there is intelligence, capacity for innovation there, there are capabilities to enterprises of this nature, we sometimes think they are the equity or monopoly only highly developed countries," Hinzpeter says.