The Guyana Defence Force today defended its decision to purchase specialized drones at a cost of $180 million to assist in its surveillance and other work.
In a statement issued today the GDF said in its decision to purchase the specialised drones, there were several requirements.
Among those requirements were for the drones to be long range ones with real-time, state of the art, surveillance capability.
They were also required to have high endurance and long-distance flight time along with variable weather flight capabilities, easy and quick deployment and easy and quick field refuelling and recharging.
Additionally, the GDF wanted the drones to afford easy use by operators and for them to have simple maintenance and life cycle plan.
Quiet and limited detectability while in flight and support for narrowband and broadband repeater equipment were among the other requirements along with manoeuvrability in confined spaces.
The GDF said evaluating drones which met its requirements narrowed down its choices since many of the easily available and cheaper drones could not meet many of the requirements it had stated.
“These basic requirements eliminated many of the COTS, particularly all of the models advertised by Dà-Jiāng Innovations (DJI), the largest COTS drone provider in the world. By performing a sensible and unbiased analysis, it is easy to discern that a drone meeting the requirements of the Force was outside the realm of COTS drones”, the statement added.
The field was narrowed down to choosing the drones manufactured by two companies, Wingcopter and Skyfront. In the end, it was the drones manufactured by Skyfront that edged out the competitor and that mostly came down to its flying time.
The GDF said it should be noted that the two companies started their operations just one year apart with the company that was not chosen being the one that started up a year later.
The GDF’s statement came in response to several questions being posed on social media and in at least one section of the press about the price tag attached to the drones and whether that money could have instead been used to purchase other equipment.