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SDLE Is Pitching Its Drones To The Colombian Army

December 18, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

One of Spain’s main suppliers for armored vehicle spare parts is now seeking opportunities in Colombia after its presentation at the Colombian Army Infantry School on December 6. During the event, Star Defense Logistics and Engineering (SDLE) exhibited its “capacity to carry out customized product development” and its unmanned intelligence and surveillance aircraft. The latter category belongs to SDLE’s Zarek V2 vertical takeoff and landing UAV that was also featured at the recent EDEX 2018 arms show in Cairo last month.

Aside from its catalog of bespoke drones SDLE does have its own countermeasures against unmanned systems. The Colombian military’s role in anti-narcotics and domestic security makes it a viable customer for lightweight UAVs.

‘The First Meeting of Science, Technology, and Innovation’ took place the the Colombian Army Infantry School in the first week of December. The purpose of the event was to gather ideas for domestic R&D needed by the armed forces. These covered automation and robotics; artificial intelligence and machine learning; bio-engineering and biomedical science; and information technology and the internet of things. In recent years SDLE has tried to find new markets for its in-house engineering resources. This has extended to unmanned systems that are proving indispensable for today’s military operations.

Colombia still maintains the second largest military budget in South America ($10 billion by 2017) as a result of its decades long civil war against Leftist rebel groups. Although the country is now at peace after a historic peace agreement in 2017 the widespread cultivation of narcotics and other domestic security risks keeps its armed forces preoccupied. The military’s arsenal is quite modest, however, with the brunt of its equipment limited to armored transports and helicopters. This is, of course, best suited for Colombia’s geography and terrain.

SDLE is Spanish manufacturer of vehicular parts for military inventories. Depending on the size of the contract, SDLE can maintain and repair second and third-generation MBTs such as the Leopard 1/2, the US Patton-series, and the French AMX-30. The same applies to armored personnel carriers like the prolific M113 and its derivatives as well as self-propelled howitzers. The life cycle needs of wheeled platforms, light trucks, and other heavy vehicles are within SDLE’s capabilities as well.

SDLE is the sole remaining manufacturer of the Dragoon armored 4×4. Originally a US design from the 1980s meant to serve as a reconnaissance vehicle with modular weapons, the Dragoon had limited exports and was quickly forgotten after the Cold War. The vehicle lives on in SDLE’s catalog, however, and is offered as a new build with bespoke options. The Dragoon tactical vehicle has a gross weight of 13 tons and runs on a 300 horsepower engine giving it a 105 kilometer per hour top speed. Depending on the customer’s requirements, the SDLE Dragoon supports a variety of armaments, from a mortar to a 90mm gun.

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