Procurement: Lease Versus Buy


May 8, 2014: Since September 11, 2001 many nations have found that expensive new battlefield technologies and services can more be obtained more cheaply via leases and contractors than buying the gear outright and training military personnel to use and maintain it. For operations in Afghanistan this was a big help, financially and operationally. This was especially true with UAVs, which many NATO nations in Afghanistan had never operated before. Commanders and troops saw the obvious advantage of UAVs and leasing allowed them to get the benefits quickly without all training and set-up expenses. Israeli firms were particularly eager to lease larger UAVs (like the Heron, which is the same size and capabilities as the U.S. Predator). Israeli firms also leased smaller UAVs, although the smallest ones available for lease were the very popular (and easy to use) American Raven. This was a two kg (5 pound) UAV very popular with the infantry and ground combat troops in general. For NATO nations with troops in Afghanistan leasing Ravens was attractive because these UAVs are heavily used in combat but were used a lot less back home. So enough Ravens were leased for battlefield use and a smaller number bought for training back home.



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