Italy's Finmeccanica builds UN's first drone

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The UN's first drone was made by Italian company Selex ES. Photo: UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti
13:07 CET+01:00
A UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has launched the organization's first drone, an unmanned aircraft, made by a subsidiary of Italian aerospace and defence firm Finmeccanica.

The drone, made by Selex ES, was unveiled in the eastern city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday.

It will be used by the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the country, MONUSCO, to fly over the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The region has been wracked by conflict between government troops and armed groups, such as M23, since 1996.

“One can observe the movements of the armed groups, movements of populations and can even see the arms carried by people on the ground, and it is also possible to see people in forested areas,” said Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, MONUSCO force commander.

Data from the drone will be combined with information gathered by UN staff on the ground, he added.

Selex ES was awarded the three-year contract in July, the company said, which could be extended for a further two years.

Watch a video of the UN’s first drone: 

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