MNDF Air Corps launched, surveillance ensured 24/7

The Maldives has launched its inaugural Air Corps of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and introduced the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Army (UCAV) service. The inauguration took place at Maafaru International Airport, officiated by President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.

The new Air Corps will handle all aerial military operations necessary to safeguard the Maldives' airspace. Collaborating with the Coast Guard, it will conduct aerial surveillance operations to protect both the airspace and the ocean territory of the Maldives. Additionally, the Corps will play a vital role in securing national strategic installations and critical infrastructures, as well as assisting in search operations for missing persons and vehicles during domestic emergencies.

To support the MNDF Air Corps service, Turkish-made Bayrakta model Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) have been acquired. Training for the required troops has commenced, with the first team already trained and additional personnel undergoing training in Turkey.

The introduced UAVs are medium altitude long endurance, tactical armoured UVs capable of sustained operation at speeds of up to 220 km/h for 20 hours continuously. They will primarily conduct intelligence and surveillance operations in various military missions aimed at safeguarding the Maldives' independence, sovereignty, and security.

Much of the intelligence gathered through these UAVs is classified and will remain confidential to ensure the safety and security of the Maldives. However, general information deemed essential for sea rescue operations, disaster management, or law enforcement will be shared with relevant authorities.

MNDF's UAV operations will adhere to the Civil Aviation Act and Rules, ensuring they do not pose a threat to commercial flights in the Maldives. Operating from MNDF area commands established in the north and south of the country, these UAVs will be deployed nationwide, with Maafaru Airport currently serving as the primary operational base.

The utilisation of UAVs for military purposes is common globally, and the introduction of this capability marks a significant advancement for the Maldivian Army, enhancing its capacity to protect the nation's independence, sovereignty, and peace. Furthermore, this service will contribute to the safety and security of the Maldives' fisheries and aid in combatting illegal activities within its territory.