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 Portuguese Army has already received several RQ-11B Raven DDL unmanned aircraft systems. (Portuguese Army)
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
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.