Benefits of The Bahamas Unmanned Aerial System

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(Photos by: Marine Seaman Wellington S. Ramsey)

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force looks forward with great anticipation to the addition of drones to their workforce. The contract signing for The Bahamas Unmanned Aerial System (BUAS) occurred on Monday December 16, 2019 and signified a positive step in the fight against
illicit activities. It is expected that these drones will be cost effective, increase the technological capacity of Defence Force personnel as decentralization of operations begin, assist with multi-layered security strategies and help usher the Force into a new age with utilization of smart systems, even as criminals’ patterns are changing. Because of their light metered sensors that can detect vessels at sea, law enforcement agencies will be better able to mitigate challenges by detecting threats, mapping post- disaster sites and conducting Search and Rescue missions while also monitoring developing situations in and around the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Another benefit comes from the establishment of an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Academy which will provide expert training for pilots, engineers and support staff for the drones, nationally and we can foresee regionally and internationally. This in and of itself exponentially increases the value and impact of this latest decision. Royal Bahamas Defence Force personnel will initially undertake the courses, alongside their law enforcement partners in the Police Force, Department of Corrections, Bahamas Customs and Immigration.

It is envisioned that the cadre of trainers for the Academy, as time progresses will also be selected from amongst our agencies as their skills are honed. The drones will be effective also in helping to raise Maritime Domain Awareness on issues which impact the safety, security, economy or environment of The Bahamas, in tandem with our Automated Identification Systems (AIS), CCTVs, Over the Horizon Radars and other detection equipment being employed. These varied drones will allow operators to have a bird’s eye view of targeted areas from land and sea, and to effectively assist in search and rescue efforts, identification of areas of concerns for a plethora of issues as well as extending Force reach during routine patrolling.

The fuel cost effectiveness also allows these drones to operate both short- and long-term assignments without need for expensive fossil fueling. One of the geographical challenges of the country remains the over 100,000 square miles of water and 700 islands with porous borders to patrol. These drones will strengthen the resolve of the Ministry of National Security, and by extension the Royal Bahamas Defence Force as we continue our thrust in the prevention, monitoring, detection and/or apprehension of those who violate the laws on land
and sea.

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