Guatemala acquires S45 BAALAM Ehécatl drone from Mexican firm Hydra Technologies

Guatemala acquires S45 BAALAM Ehécatl drone from Mexican firm Hydra Technologies
Guatemala acquires S45 BAALAM Ehécatl drone from Mexican firm Hydra Technologies

Alberto López | Miércoles, 8 de diciembre de 2021, 12:00

The public tender was active from 19 May to 19 June this year, and the Guatemalan Ministry of Defence made the purchase through a sole-source procurement procedure (Art.43 clause c) on 20 July, according to the official website Guatecompras. The unit was finally received at the end of November.

The purchase was made through the Guatemalan company Tactical Group, as local intermediary, while the drone is manufactured by Hydra Technologies de México, based in Guadalajara, Jalisco.

According to Guatecompras, a total of 10 contracts have been awarded to this local supplier for almost nine million dollars in 2021. The buyers have been the ministries of Defence and Interior of Guatemala, while the majority of purchases correspond to equipment and security items.

"In the framework of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Guatemalan Air Force, we are bringing the first unmanned aircraft in Central America. It will support actions to control forest fires for early detection, but it will also support operations against transnational crime and illegal migration," said the president of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, to whom the FAG presented the new acquisition.

The president indicated that the acquisition of the UAV means a big step in the introduction of technology in the FAG. "We are going to continue to have the skies and borders protected," he added and said that next year, arrangements will be made for the acquisition of a second similar UAV.

El UAV S4 Ehécatl. Foto: Fuerza Aérea Guatemalteca

The S4 Ehécatl

The S4 Ehecatl (Aztec god of wind) UAV serves as a surveillance platform for military and law enforcement agencies. It is designed to perform surveillance and reconnaissance. The drone's primary missions include reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, aerial support for urban operations, long- and short-range covert aerial surveillance, monitoring high-risk urban areas, searching for activity in large rural communities and remote areas, road and border surveillance, and providing strategic support in kidnapping situations.

Mexican operators of the S4 Ehécatl include the Federal Preventive Police (PFP), which is part of the Mexican Ministry of Public Security, and the Jalisco state government. The PFP deploys the S4 Ehécatl for security missions, while the Jalisco government uses the vehicle for civil protection, monitoring public works, forest fires and illegal discharges of pollutants into rivers and bodies of water.

The aircraft is powered by a conventional inclined gasoline engine that drives its nose propeller. The propulsion system allows the UAV to reach a maximum altitude of 15,000 feet.

The S4 Ehecatl UAV (Aztec god of the wind) serves as a surveillance platform for The S4 Ehecatl is equipped with a tricycle-type fixed landing gear. It can take off from high terrain at 8,000 feet above mean sea level. It has a cruising speed of 38 knots and a range of up to eight hours. It has infrared thermal sensors (FLIR) to recognise objects by capturing the infrared radiation released by them. The infrared cameras are deployed during night flights.

It also carries an electro-optical camera and a high-resolution fixed camera for imaging objects during daytime missions. The electro-optical camera offers a 26x zoom, while the digital camera can capture images with a 15x optical zoom. The IR (infrared) camera provides images with a resolution of 640 × 480 pixels. The sensor suite also integrates a 500MHz data link command centre.

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