George Duncan, Asia Pacific Business Development Director for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle manufacturer UMS SKELDAR, discusses UAV requirements in the region
Difficult to access terrain not only presents obvious logistical challenges for land-based patrols, but the cost of manned flights of fixed wing aircraft or helicopters with trained crews, can be exorbitant even for the most robust of national budgets. Take this scenario to Asia from the sub-continent to the Pacific Rim and you have a veritable mission impossible.
Increasing geo-political and external pressures as well as home grown concerns are placing governments and agencies alike under the spotlight of scrutiny on both national and world stages. The demands of homeland security around anti-drugs smuggling patrols create an uneasy partnership of new bedfellows such as the shared border surveillance deal recently announced between Pakistan and Iran.
It is precisely this sort of difficult environment where yesterday’s smugglers and poachers all too easily become tomorrow’s insurgents and bandits. This dynamic and shifting security landscape is where we at UMS SKELDAR aim to capture market share. Comprising Saab’s Skeldar VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft through to the long range 12+ hours fixed wing F-720, the Asia-Pacific market is our top priority and this regional focus will be an integral part of our world launch at the Singapore Air Show (16-21 February), where Governments and military will be vying with each other to ‘try before they buy’ a range of serious hardware and tomorrow’s world technology.
It’s not so much about individual components for many organisations. We are really offering an end-to-end solution. Some customers will want a stand-alone training package, others may not want to purchase aircraft, but ask us to operate on their behalf. The old days of just shifting metal are long gone.
Governments, military and civilian organisations are on the look-out for complete UAV package solutions that incorporate a wide range of security requirements. For example, Peninsulas, archipelagos, vast maritime territories and inhospitable land terrain all add to a variety of challenges in the East around the constant need for border surveillance and intelligence. Add to this a spectrum of applications: illegal logging in Indonesia and Malaysia, drug smuggling in Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan, energy and infrastructure maintenance and security in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, maritime border patrols over disputed territories such as the Spratley Islands issue between China and her neighbours…the list goes on.
To sum up, we are not here to impose a particular platform but to actually work with customers to establish the best solution. Our technology, whether location and tracking devices or infra-red cameras, really can make the difference between life and death. In some cases our technology solutions can turn a hopeless cause in to a mission possible.
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