Mexico buys Israeli drones


Mexico has purchased Israeli-made unmanned drone aircraft, the government said, which may be used for spotting remote drug fields as officials fight powerful cartels.

Mexico's defense ministry said it bought an unspecified number of Hermes 450 drones last year from Israel's Elbit Systems Ltd for $23.25 million, according to a filing seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The defense ministry declined to say how it would use the drones.

But Javier Oliva, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said the military was likely using the remote-controlled drones, which can fly for 20 hours and are equipped with cameras, to locate marijuana and opium in the northwestern states of Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua.

"These are areas that are very difficult for troops to reach," Oliva said, adding that the military had started to use the planes over the past five or six months.

I have been advocating use of drones in Mexico for some time. They can also be useful to track cartel leaders. They will be a real asset to counter the criminal insurgency in Mexico.


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