5 Nov 13 - Selex ES Falco begins supporting United Nations peacekeeping operations
On 3 December 2013, the Selex ES Falco tactical Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) took to the air to begin its role supporting the United Nations (UN) MONUSCO peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This development follows Selex ES’s receipt of a 3-year contract for the Falco UAS earlier this year to provide information gathering and surveillance capabilities for UN operations in Eastern DRC.
The Falco is an unarmed, mission-proven, medium-altitude, medium-endurance UAS capable of operating from semi-prepared airstrips with fully automated take off, landing and mission execution capability.
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, among others. The aircraft has a range of 250km (155 miles) with the possibility of a greater surveillance range.
Already in operation with four international customers, the Falco UAS facilitates 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 UAS technology to aid in its humanitarian mandate.
The aircraft for the UN peacekeeping mission were transported from Italy to the Democratic Republic of Congo 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 13 November from Pisa airport and stopped in Luxor, Egypt, and Nairobi, Kenya for platform maintenance. The C130J arrived and unloaded the Falco at Goma Airport in Congo on 15 November.