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Uganda operates long-endurance UAV

The Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) is operating a previously undocumented medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), a tweet by Lieutenant General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the commander of Uganda's land forces and the president's son, revealed on 24 February.

The tweet included a video of UPDF personnel singing in front of the UAV in a hangar.

“Ugandan special forces warming up for another mission in Operation Shujaa!,” Lt Gen Kainerugaba said, referring to the cross-border operation the UPDF launched against the Allied Democratic Front (ADF) militant group in the northeast of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in December 2021. “[The] ADF will regret attacking Uganda.”

The UAV appeared to be a Hermes 900 made by the Israeli company Elbit Systems, which says the aircraft can carry a payload weighing up to 350 kg and has an endurance of 36 hours. The Hermes 900 is not specifically advertised as a UAV that can carry weapons but it has under-wing hardpoints and an internal cargo bay that can be used to drop stores.

It was revealed at the outset of Operation ‘Shujaa' that the UPDF has also acquired Elbit Spear Mk 2 soft-recoil 120 mm self-propelled mortars mounted on Plasan SandCat vehicles, which were filmed crossing the border.

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