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This page abstract: Small unmanned helicopters based on Spanish military vessels scan the coast of Somalia for pirates who are harassing boats in the area.

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Unmanned helicopter drones search for pirates outside the coast of Somalia

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Written by: Håkan Abrahamsson
First version: 22 Nov 2013. Latest revision: 26 Mar 2015.
How do you search for pirates off the Somali coast?


The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system Skeldar stationed on the Spanish naval patrol boat BAM Meteoro, as part of the EU contribution Operation Atalanta off the Somali coast.

"Skeldar used in conjunction with a manned helicopter to improve the ship's reconnaissance capabilities to combat pirates off the Somali coast", says Mikael Franzén, Product Manager at Saab, in a press release.

Skeldar is an unmanned helicopter system for short to medium assignments that can be controlled from a control station. The system can be equipped with, for example, sensors and mapping system.

Before Skeldar was commissioned for EU intervention, it was tested aboard the Spanish ship BAM Relampago off the Canary Islands.

Saab Skeldar is 5.2 meters long, has a starting weight of 235 kg and a 40 kg load. Top speed is set to 140 km / h and the flight time to 6 hours. The helicopter is powered by a twin-cylinder, two-stroke diesel engine of 625 cc, which gives power 55 horsepower.

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