The Swiss army is exploring the possibility of acquiring mini-drones for the infantry by 2020. A budget of CHF8 million has been set aside.
The miniature drones will be used for close-proximity surveillance according to Armasuisse, confirming information published in the Blick newspaper on Saturday. A proposal is currently being prepared to test various models with a view to eventually acquiring them in 2019-20, revealed Armasuisse spokesperson Kaj-Gunnar Sievert.
These mini-drones offer the capability of observing the enemy over long distances or across barriers like a hill or building. The models and specifications that will be tested were not disclosed.
There are several types of such unmanned craft, including quadricopters or mini-planes that can be fitted with infrared cameras. Most of them can be hand-launched.
Switzerland already posseses much larger surveillance drones to support the army with intelligence gathering. They are used for policing, border patrols, and assessment in case of disasters. The government’s recent attempts to renew its fleet of drones with “battle-tested” models produced by Israeli companies raised eyebrows. The budget for six such drones amounted to CHF250 million.
swissinfo.ch and agencies