UN selects unarmed surveillance drone for Congo

AP News
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Posted: Aug 01, 2013 1:12 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations has selected its first unarmed surveillance drone, an Italian-made plane that will be tried out by peacekeepers in eastern Congo.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Thursday the world body's peacekeeping department chose an unmanned aerial vehicle produced by SELES ES, known as the Falco, which is "capable of carrying a range of payloads including several types of high-resolution sensors."

In January, the U.N. Security Council gave approval for the trial use of unarmed drones for eastern Congo. It's also given peacekeepers an unprecedented offensive mandate to attack rebels.

Nesirky said deployment of the medium-altitude, medium-endurance drone is planned in the coming weeks.

He said it will allow U.N. peacekeepers, especially in eastern Congo, "to monitor the movements of armed groups and protect the civilian population more efficiently."