It is a tender that does not go unnoticed. The Ministry of the Interior published on April 12 a tender for an amount of 4 million euros which should allow it to acquire nearly 650 drones.
Questioned for a week on the use of this command, the Ministry denies any link with the current health crisis and the measures intended to enforce containment measures. It must be said that the city of Nice in late March put forward the operation of a drone for this purpose. And that the police and gendarmerie authorities use these devices to monitor coastal areas and rivers in search of breaches of containment.
“This invitation to tender is unrelated to the current health situation, the expression of need and the technical specifications having been consolidated during the second half of 2019,” assured the Ministry of the Interior to BFM on Friday.
3 lots for three uses
The order relates to 3 lots of drones. The first batch consists of 565 “daily micro-drones”, less than a kilo, with an autonomy of twenty-five minutes minimum. They must be able to fly at a height of 100 meters, while remaining discreet. These drones must be equipped with thermal cameras, and retransmit images filmed in 4K or UHD at least three kilometers away. The amount to be invested in this lot is 1.8 million euros.
The second batch concerns 66 “national capacity” drones. These drones are heavier than those of the first batch, up to 8 kilos, and must be able to be discreet at 120 meters. They must be able to take on a filming objective which must make it possible to film at 500 meters, with a 30x day zoom, to retransmit the images captured at least 5 kilometers. It must make it possible to “recognize gestures” of the people filmed. The required autonomy is twenty minutes minimum. The amount to be invested in this lot is 1.58 million euros.
Note that these drones are mainly intended for observation-surveillance, research, reconnaissance, observation and intelligence missions, during events of regional or national importance.
Finally, the third batch concerns about twenty “specialized nano-drones”. These devices must weigh less than 50 grams and have a minimum of twenty-five minutes of autonomy. Very light, they must be able to transmit images at least 2 kilometers away. The amount to invest on this lot is 175,000 euros.
Financed by a European fund
According to the invitation to tender, these contracts include, in addition to the purchase of equipment, their “Maintenance in operational condition” and training of agents in their maintenance. They are part of a “program funded by European Union funds”, the Internal Security Fund (ISF). According to the website of the Ministry of the Interior, the FSI is divided into two parts: one focused on “external borders”, and the other on “police cooperation, crime prevention and suppression, and crisis management, ”notes Liberation.
The AEF figures that the number of drones provided by the gendarmes to 300 and 110 by the national police is 300, noting that some have been deployed to enforce confinement in Marseilles or Lille. The Paris police headquarters uses this equipment for the same purpose in the capital, notes the AFP.