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Rheinmetall to deliver Estonian mobile drone surveillance systems to Ukraine

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 5, 2023 1:19 PM 2 min read
An image of the SurveilSpire system, made by Estonian company DefSecIntel, shared on the website of Estonian digital solution expo e-estonia (digiexpo.e-estonia / website)
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Rheinmetall has received an order "in the two-digit million-euro range" from the German government to supply Ukraine with mobile drone surveillance systems, the arms manufacturer announced on Oct. 5.

The Estonian-designed SurveilSpire system can monitor and automatically engage enemy drones, Rheinmetall's press release said.

SurveilSpire systems "include mobile surveillance towers with day and night vision camera equipment, autopiloted mini-drones, and a command and control system," according to the arms manufacturer.

Assembly of the system requires just three people and can be connected to 4G or Starlink connections for remote video transmission to a command post, Rheinmetall said.

The systems are highly mobile, as they can be can be loaded onto trailers and transported to where needed.

"Transport vehicles are also included in the scope of delivery," Rheinmetall added.

The designer of the system, Estonian defense company DefSecIntel, describes SurveilSpire as an autonomous platform with "built-in AI detection software," able to "conduct fully automated operations in different weather conditions."

Solar panels mean that the system does not require a connection to a power line or fuel.

Rheinmetall is producing a range of weapons for Ukraine. In August, the company confirmed that it would be ready to deliver a Luna New Generation reconnaissance drone system to Ukraine over the course of 2023.

On Sept. 11, Rheinmetall announced it would deliver 40 more Marder infantry fighting vehicles (IFV)  based on an order placed by the German government in August.

This brings the total number of Marder vehicles to be supplied by Rheinmetall to Ukraine on Germany's commission to 80, with the first 20 shipped in March and another batch of 20 ordered in June, which are currently being overhauled and delivered.

On Sept. 28, Germany's regulatory agency approved plans to set up a joint venture in Kyiv between Rheinmetall and Ukrainian Defense Industry, Ukraine's state-owned defense company.

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