DEFENCE: Cyprus buys 4 Israeli drones to monitor EEZ

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Cyprus has acquired four Israeli-made unmanned drones costing 12 million euros, the first military purchase of its kind the Cypriot defence ministry has made.

According to Kathimerini Cyprus, the drones will help Nicosia more effectively monitor its exclusive economic zone from the air where international energy companies are searching for natural gas, a strategy Turkey is opposed to as it has claims in the region.

Unmanned aerial vehicles will also help Cypriot authorities in fire prevention during the summer months while being an asset in search and rescue operations inside Nicosia’s Flight Information Region, said Kathimerini (quoting “reliable sources”).

The drones – ordered in December 2018 – improves Cyprus’ range of capabilities with high definition cameras that can take images from high altitudes, said Kathimerini.

Israel’s Aeronautics that makes the Aerostar Tactical UAS (TUAS), claims it is one of the most efficient and cost-effective systems of its class, and a world-leading tactical UAV system.

“It has logged over 250,000 operational flight hours flying missions worldwide (operational in 4 continents). The performance and reliability of this combat-proven system are unprecedented in the UAS industry,” according to the Aeronautics website.

The drones have a wingspan of 8.7 metres, length 4.5m, height 1.2m, with maximum endurance up to 12 hours and a maximum speed of 110 knots (203 km/h).