First 12 forest surveillance drones have already been delivered to the Air Force

The acquisition of drones by the Portuguese Air Force was financed, in its entirety, by the Government's Environmental Fund. Drones represent a lower investment when compared to manned aerial means, in addition to the ability to remain in the air for a longer time (12 hours), thus reinforcing its importance in helping to prevent / fight fires in Portugal.

The first 12 surveillance drones to Portuguese forests have already been delivered to the Air Force, unmanned aerial systems will allow continuous surveillance of up to 12 hours of flight to be maintained, thus being an important part of fighting fires during the summer. The purchase of the drones, worth 4,5 million euros, was approved by the cabinet on 30 April.

The Air Force was authorized to buy the drones, create the necessary infrastructures and adapt the command and control system, up to an amount of 4,5 million euros plus VAT, and the expense was fully paid by the Environmental Fund.

These systems thus allow the identification of fires in their initial stages, assist, by the information they capture and transmit, the decision making of the Command for Combat Operations and, also, contribute to the aftermath operations, monitoring points where reignites may occur .

The presentation was attended by the Ministers of National Defense, João Gomes Cravinho, who oversees the Air Force, Environment and Climate Action, Matos Fernandes, who oversees forests, and the Secretary of State for Internal Administration, Patrícia Gaspar, who oversees the Civil Protection - the beneficiary of the information collected by drones about the fire situations in the forests.

In 2019, even in the operational testing phase, unmanned aerial systems made an evident contribution to the Special Rural Fire Fighting Device.

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