Maputo — Unmanned aircraft, commonly known as drones, could be assembled in Mozambique, under collaboration between the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Engineering Faculty of the University of Oporto in Portugal, and Maputo's Eduardo Mondlane University.
Drones are infamous for their role in US warfare, in attacking targets in Afghanistan or Pakistan, but the ones made in Mozambique will have peaceful purposes, notably transmitting information about maritime security.
“We are laying the foundations for a laboratory of unmanned aircraft to be built in Mozambique including 35 to 40 per cent national production”, said the managing director of the company Mozlog, Jorge Silva, cited by the Portuguese news agency, Lusa.
Silva made this announcement after introducing the theme “The sea as a factor in development strategy and maritime security” at a seminar held in Maputo by the Centre of Strategic Analysis (CAE) of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).
Silva said the technology could be available for Mozambique in six to eight months. The drones could be used for surveillance of maritime or road traffic, and monitoring environmental factors such as pollution and acidification of oceans.
The first prototype of this kind of drone was produced by the University of Oporto, and has been tested by the Portuguese navy. In Europe unmanned aircraft are used for such tasks as search and rescue missions, oceanographic and hydrographic surveys, and application of maritime law.
Silva said the use of drones can dramatically reduce the cost of patrolling the oceans. A patrol ship costs about 40,000 US dollars a day, but an unmanned aircraft does not cost more than 20,000 dollars a year.
“In economic terms, no discussion is possible”, he said, “and given our scarcity of financial resources, it makes complete sense to rely on this sort of technology. The training of both soldiers and civilians is also not expensive. The technology is viable for both military and civilian purposes”.