Portuguese Air Force with 4,5M€ to acquire drones for fire-fighting

20 May 2020

The Government authorized the Portuguese Air Force to pay for the acquisition of 12 UAVs for "additional aerial surveillance" during the 2020 fire-fighting period.

The Portuguese Air Force (FAP) authorization to “carry out expenses with the acquisition of unmanned aerial systems for aerial surveillance under the Special Combat Device to Rural Fires” was approved by the Council of Ministers and published, this Monday.

This investment, which can go up to 4,545,000 euros, will be used for the immediate purchase of 12 Class 1 UAVs to meet the urgent need for aerial surveillance during this summer. The amount, with 100% financing from the Environmental Fund, includs the “update and adaptation of the command and control system”.

The use of drones gains more relevance with the resulting pandemic situation, taking into account “an eventual lower availability of human resources (…) in the phases of prevention, suppression and relief established in the framework of integrated management of rural fires, as well as as in the surveillance of the coastline, protected areas and quarries”.

The operation of these devices will be coordinated between FAP and GNR (National Republican Guard), “for surveillance”, and with the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority, “in the framework of fighting rural fires, including aftermath and post-active surveillance operations”.

The Council of Ministers Resolution also identifies the fundamental role that drones have “in multiple aeronautical activities, having already made their contribution to the Special Device for Fighting Rural Fires (DECIR) 2019, even in the phase of operational tests”.

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