The Portuguese Army is looking to acquire additional NATO Class 1 (under 150 kg) hand-launched unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) to enhance tactical situational awareness of its troops.
The Force Planning Division at the Army High-Staff has initiated a study with the aim to acquire mini fixed-wing UASs weighing less than 15 kg, up to 5,000 ft operating altitude above ground level (AGL), and maximum 50 km line-of-sight (LOS) range, as well as rotary-wing micro-UAS systems with less than 66 joules energy state, up to 200 ft operating altitude AGL, and a maximum 5 km LOS range.
The study is scheduled to be finalised in 2020, the Force Planning Division told Jane’s .
It includes carrying out market studies and benchmarking; elaborating acquisition procedures, quantities, and schedules; and analysing solutions in service with ally countries. The service is looking to acquire the air vehicles from 2022.
The procurement forms part of a larger plan aimed to acquire mini, small, and micro UASs; unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs); and artificial intelligence (IA) technologies.
The small-UAS will further improve the intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability of army’s ISTAR Battalion (AgrISTAR), which is located at the Cavalry Regiment No.3 in Estremoz. It will specifically deliver reconnaissance role at the brigade level.
The micro-UAS will deliver intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability to lower-level echelons such as squads and platoons.
The mini-UAS effort was already fulfilled via the acquisition by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) of 12 AeroVironment RQ-11B Raven Digital Data Link (DDL) systems worth USD5.9 million on 20 August 2018. The initial eight systems were received in June 2019 for the Surveillance Systems Company, which is located at the Artillery Regiment No.5 in Vendas Novas.
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