By Chris King • 11 February 2022 • 21:32
Maria Gamez, the director-general of the Guardia Civil in Spain, last December 23 approved one of the force’s most ambitious initiatives yet in the fight against organised crime, bird-shaped drones.
Two drones have been commissioned to be built, at a cost of €108,000. They are not just ordinary drones though, these two high-tech devices will actually be manufactured in the shape of large birds, designed to blend in with real birds in flight.
Aeromedia UAV, a company in A Coruña has been chosen for this project as they have a good track record of building drones previously that are used in Customs surveillance operations, as well as by the emergency and environmental services, and even the film industry.
Once developed, they will be placed into operation by the Guardia Civil to spy on criminal activities. These prototypes are not the first drones to be made to resemble birds, and the force had specific requirements of the manufacturer.
“The aircraft must have the appearance of a bird, which allows aerial surveillance to be carried out covertly, making it difficult for the subjects on whom the surveillance falls to detect the aircraft”, stressed technicians from the Guardia Civil technicians before the initiative commenced.
In documents seen by SUR, the Guardia Civil had asked the company to incorporate a silent motor to propel the drone, a “silent electric motor that allows the noise footprint to be reduced as much as possible”.
“The characteristics of the system must allow it to operate close to the targets, respecting general conditions such as those specific to flight without being recognised”, added the tender document.
Although the force has not revealed which type of bird the drones will be disguised as, it is known that a versatile system was also required, one that gives the drones “the ability to take off and land on any type of terrain”.
Another specification asked of the Galician company is that the drones must have an integrated “intelligent video surveillance system, with video capture sensors”. This should be capable of recognising vehicle number plates from a distance of at least 180 metres, as well as humans at 280 metres, and also able to identify light vehicles up to 680 metres distant.
For the drones to pass as birds, their wingspan should not exceed two metres, and they can not be longer than one metre. An airborne duration of at least 50 minutes is required, at a weight of no more than 3.5 kilos, as reported by surinenglish.com.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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