State to Supply Costa Rican Police With Drones to Crack Down on Drug Trade

SimonSkafar/istockphoto

The program would start with eight small UAS, with plans to increase the number to 40 or more if successful.

The State Department is planning to purchase a small set of small unmanned aircraft systems, or sUAS, better known as drones, and the associated training for police in Costa Rica as part of an effort to combat international drug trafficking.

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, or INL, supports anti-drug trafficking efforts in other countries, including buying equipment and training for local law enforcement. The agency’s five-year strategic plan to stem the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. includes “increase[ing] the capabilities of Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Security small unmanned aircraft system fleet,” according to a request for information posted to SAM.gov.

As part of that mission, INL plans to purchase eight sUAS—specifically the Skydio X2D quadcopters—to start, as well as the relevant training. If the program goes well, INL officials will consider upping that order to 40 or more drones.

The RFI notes Costa Rica does not have an official military but “a national-level law enforcement organization with National Police, Border Police, Investigative Branch, Air Service and Coast Guard.” With that in mind, “The sUAS training and standardization system should NOT be based on a military model; but rather, incorporate best practices from sUAS operations in industry and community policing,” the document states.

The market research is split into six statements of work, each with its own documents:

  • Pilot training and certification system.
  • Standard operating procedures development.
  • Subject matter expert to assist in development of training and certification program.
  • Basic police operations training.
  • Intermediate police operations training.
  • Fleet and operator management system.

The RFI also states all solutions “should maximize the use of commercial off the shelf material” and all products and trainings must be in Spanish.

Responses are due by 11:30 p.m. Aug. 31.

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