The US Department of State is to provide an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) surveillance system to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), a spokesperson for the US military's Djibouti-based Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) has told Jane's .
The spokesman said that a four-week UK-led intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) training course for AMISOM personnel in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, was conducted to prepare for the arrival of the system. The course concluded on 25 August, and involved a US Air Force instructor from CJTF-HOA.
The Department of State declined to comment on the UAV programme, and AMISOM did not respond to requests for information; however, a source close to the project told Jane's that the programme involves providing AMISOM with a contractor-owned and -operated system, with no planned equipment donations.
The source could not provide a timeline for the deployment of the system, as the contracting process – although in its final phase – is ongoing, and a definitive timeline has yet to be agreed. The type of UAV that will be deployed remains unknown, although the source acknowledged it is likely to be a tactical UAV instead of a larger medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) system.
The CJTF-HOA spokesperson said the US instructor that supported the ISR training course in Mogadishu had "provided instruction on basic intelligence disciplines and fusion of intelligence. He also provided instruction on why it is important to understand the RPA [remotely piloted aircraft] capabilities when providing tasking… He did not focus on any specific tasking processes, because they will be determined through interaction with the RPA contractors once they are in place."
Separately, personnel from CJTF-HOA's Task Force Warrior demonstrated the AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven small UAV to soldiers from the Djibouti Armed Forces (Forces Armées Djiboutiennes: FAD) on 21 August. "Initial feedback from the FAD was that they are very interested to see how the Ravens can benefit ground forces during operations.
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