Procurement: Buying Ground Support


December 16, 2009: A growing area of military contractor business is providing support for UAV operations. It's cheaper and faster to contract a civilian firm to handle ground support and some of the flight operations for UAVs. For example, a typical deal pays the contractor per hour that the UAV is over the battlefield, and under control of military operators and video analysts there. The contractors is guaranteed a monthly minimum of flight hours, and handles take-offs and landings, as well as piloting the UAV to a certain distance from the combat unit that will take over and operate the UAV while in the combat zone. The U.S. Marine Corps uses such an arrangement, as do some European users. Many nations that are in the process of buying Israeli UAVs are employing contractors, as it's the quickest way to get their new UAVs into service with the troops.



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