Angola is about to purchase some unmanned drones from Israel.
Angola’s defence ministry is negotiating the purchase of a number of Israel Aerospace Industries Heron 1 unmanned air systems, according to African sources. IAI has within the past few months conducted flight demonstrations with the Heron in Angola and Kenya, which is also looking for a UAS capability, the sources say. A lease deal involving the type is believed to be one option available to the first country, they add. IAI declines to comment about its marketing efforts with UAS in Africa. The Heron 1 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance air vehicle designed to perform strategic reconnaissance and surveillance operations. Capable of automatic take-off and landing, it has a 30,000ft (9,150m) maximum altitude and can be fitted with a variety of payloads. Angola has previously used an Israeli company to meet some of its surveillance needs. In 2003 Aeronautics Defense Systems-supplied Aerostar UAS were operated to patrol oil installations for Chevron/Texaco.
Drones have assumed a leading role in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, and are projected to be of growing importance in future military operations. Their low cost makes them expendable and ideal for highly dangerous or politically sensitive missions. However, technical limitations as well as likely improvements in competing technologies, notably air defence systems, shall circumscribe the military role of drones. Although an integral part of future warfare, they are unlikely to fully replace manned aircraft and will instead, complement them.
Given the importance of drones now and into the future, not merely as surveillance, but as tools of targeted killing(s), their mission capabilities will expand as far as people allow. Angola which has been exporting minerals and energy, clearly needs to watch it’s territories from smugglers. Drones clearly solve this problem since they can operate 24/7 and cover a wide area, unlike manned foot patrols. Looking at the cost effectiveness and ease of operating of drones, expect more countries to start purchasing drones.