Italy offers drones to replace misfiring radars
MALFUNCTIONING radars purchased from Finmeccanica by the Martinelli Administration will be replaced by drones for coastal monitoring if a proposal submitted by the Italian conglomerate is approved.
The Ministry of Public Security reported that the Italian company Finmeccanica has sent them a proposal to deliver unmanned aircraft, or drones, to be used for coastal monitoring.
The original $250 million the contract has been the subject of a corruption investigation in Italy with allegations that a $25 million bribe was include in the deal.
'We will see if the drones can compensate for the lack of radar," said Minister of Public Security Rodolfo Aguilera.
The drones would cover the gaps in coverage provided by the radars, which are used for detecting speed boats used by drug traffickers. It was not disclosed if Panama would have to make a further payment, or if the Italian company would assume the cost. The proposal, according to the minister, will be analyzed with experts from the aeronaval service Senan and with lawyers. They will then meet with officials from Finmeccanica and the Italian embassy.
Panama purchased equipment valued at $250 million in 2010 from Finmeccanica. That included $125 million for the radars.
In recent months, the government has complained publicly about the radars which are unable to pick up boats suspected of carrying drug shipments.