|James Bell and Deidre Patin stand next to an unmanned aerial vehicle at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division China Lake, Calif. A presidential executive order led to the two participating in preliminary discussions with South African officials about new approaches to prevent illegal wildlife trafficking. Photo: U.S. Navy
[Avionics Today 01-09-2015] Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) recently travelled to South Africa to help combat wildlife trafficking throughout the world. Responding to an executive order, two NAWCWD Unmanned Systems (UxS) office representatives traveled to Pretoria, South Africa to discuss how Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) can be a useful tool to monitor illegal trafficking activity, animal movement patterns, and to help secure the country’s borders.
During the visit, representatives were asked to share their engineering knowledge with South African engineers currently developing the country’s own UAS program that will aid in wildlife trafficking and border surveillance. This meeting opens the door for a technology exchange agreement between the two countries.
“By being a mutually beneficial project to our nations, the [unmanned] program will serve as a gateway to greater military-to-military and science and technology cooperation,” said Jacob Abrami of the U.S. Embassy in South Africa. “This in turn could … directly improve both nations’ understanding of the system and their development of products, sensors and upgrades to its various components.”