The new secret weapon of the Belgian army: the Puma mini-drone

Thursday, 20 April 2017 17:55
The new secret weapon of the Belgian army: the Puma mini-drone © Belga
The Belgian army has praised the RQ-20 Puma mini-drone of the United States for the missions that it carried out in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The device has the capability of a tactical plane without a tactical pilot, said military sources on Thursday. The device made its first public presentation in Beauvechain last week despite the secrecy that surrounds it.

One of these mini-UASs ("Unmanned Aircraft System"), with a length of 1.4 m and a wingspan of 2.8 m, equipped with an electro-optical (EO) and Infrared (IR) camera, was first filmed last month by a VRT team in a report made on 14 March nearby the "Belgian elite soldiers" who trained and assisted the peshmerga (Kurdish fighters) and the Iraqi army engaged in the reconquest of the territories captured by the jihadists of the Islamic State (IS).

Launched by hand, the Puma can provide images in real time within a radius of 20 km during the day time and at night thanks to its optronic ball.

This mini-drone was presented last Wednesday to the 11,000 spectators who came to attend the open day of the base of Beauvechain, making two short flights in spite of the relatively strong wind.

When questioned by Belga, the Ministry of Defense was extremely discreet about the use of this device.

Sarah Johansson
The Brussels Times
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