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UAVs tested for Brazilian police

Aug. 3, 2009 at 7:19 PM   |   Comments

LOD, Israel, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- An Israeli company said it conducted a successful test of an unmanned surveillance drone for Brazilian officials for domestic use.

Israel Aerospace Industries issued a release Monday saying it demonstrated its Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicle last week in southern Brazil for the Brazilian Federal Police. IAI said the testing was attended by Brazilian government ministers, officials of the country's armed forces, and military and civilian representatives of several other Latin American countries.

Brazilian authorities are investigation using UAVs to help control border security, smuggling and drug trafficking, IAI said.

The test was conducted in the state of Parana and the San Miguel de Iguacu region, which is notable for challenging weather conditions. The area also has a good deal of commercial air traffic, and the Heron test was coordinated with Brazilian air traffic control.

IAI said its Heron was the first UAV system to fly over that part of Brazil.

"Despite this, the system performed flawlessly in all its tasks and was able to fulfill the customer's requests," the IAI release said.

The test in Brazil was one in a series in the region for IAI, which also worked with the U.S. military's Southern Command during exercises in El Salvador. That test, which also took place during adverse weather, was to demonstrate the Heron's value for maritime patrols.

IAI said the test in Brazil was ordered after a two-year study by the Brazilian federal police regarding UAV systems. Officials said they specifically wanted aircraft able to provide data and intelligence in real time, carry a number of sensors simultaneously and that employ satellite communications and automatic takeoff and landing.

The Israeli company has established a venture called EAE with Brazil's Synergy Group, which has aerospace, shipyard and oil concerns. EAE was formed to develop markets in Latin America in aerospace, maritime and home security sectors.

"This joint company will provide an opportunity to expand the Brazilian technological base, will act as a hub for technology and expertise and will provide maintenance and customer support services for IAI's various systems in use in Latin America, including the UAV," the IAI release Monday said.

IAI's Heron is in use by several countries including India, which has 50 of the aircraft in service. India paid about $220 million in 2005 for the UAVs. The Heron is about 29 feet long and has a wingspan of 54 feet, 5 inches. It has a range of about 2,000 miles and can stay aloft for more than 40 hours at a stretch.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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