The Mexican government is bringing into operational service the Aerostar tactical unmanned aerial system (TUAS) built by Israel’s Aeronautics Ltd. The system was supplied by Mexico’s Balam Security (Balam Seguridad privada S.A. de C.V.), a vendor of military equipment and security systems in Latin America.
The scope of the deal was not officially disclosed, but it is estimated at $15 million, including the peripheral systems, integration services and technical support. Under the agreement, Balam Security is providing active and comprehensive support to install the Aerostars and is performing all the necessary integration work. The Aerostar deal is the second UAS contract with the Mexican government won by Balam Security. Aeronautics previously supplied Mexico with its Dominator XP UAV with the help of Balam Security. The system successfully completed its full operational integration last year.
According to Aeronautics, the Aerostar tactical UAV offers a wide range of advanced intelligence-gathering tools, advanced digital communications capabilities, ground control station, and optional interface with the customer’s command and control system. The Aerostar is in service with 15 security services, armies, and intelligence organizations worldwide. In the past few years, the Aerostar has been in service with allied forces in Afghanistan and other countries. Overall, the system has accumulated over 120,000 operational flight hours.
"The Aerostar UAS’s entry to operational service with the Mexican government is an important milestone for Balam Security, and one of the important developments since the deal was signed," said Balam Security CEO Asaf Zanzuri. "The Aerostar UAV will allow the Mexicans to gather intelligence and benefit from the real-time target acquisition and surveillance capabilities, while integrating with the client’s current systems. The project includes the supply of all the peripheral systems and operational support for the UAV, the communications systems, and the distribution of reliable intelligence in real time, as well as the training of the operating crews and technicians. Balam Security’s support teams will continue to assist the customer and support its range of operations."
Balam Security added that the project is unique because of its use of advanced cyber systems for intelligence gathering. In the past year, Balam Security has expanded its business in Latin America, supplying cyber-based intelligence systems and control rooms to the Colombian and Chilean governments. The company’s customers include the Mexican Army and Navy, the Chilean National Police, and the National Police of Peru.