Chavez unveils surveillance drone

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (r) and Venezuelan Defense Minister Henry Range Silva during a visit to the ministry of defence in Caracas Hugo Chavez said the country would continue to build more drones

Related Stories

Venezuela's president has said the country has begun producing unmanned aerial surveillance drones.

Hugo Chavez said the aircraft were being built as part of military co-operation with Iran and other allies.

In a televised address from the country's defence ministry, Mr Chavez said the aircraft, of which he said there are currently three, were solely for defensive purposes.

He said Venezuela had also started making grenades and Kalashnikov rifles.

He said that Russia, China, Iran and "other allied countries" had contributed to the projects.

"We have the right [to manufacture weapons]," Mr Chavez said. "We would not if we were a colony, but we are a free and independent country."

Mr Chavez - who has repeatedly warned that the US could invade Venezuela to seize control of its immense oil reserves - said the drones and arms were for defence purposes.

"We do not have any intentions of attacking anybody," he said.

Officials said the drone was part of a system aimed at the surveillance and monitoring of pipelines, dams and other rural infrastructure.

The country has spent billions of dollars on Russian arms and military aircraft since 2005, including 24 Sukhoi fighter jets, dozens of attack helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles.

The drone has a range of 100km (60 miles) and can reach an altitude of 3,000m according to Gen Julio Morales, head of the state-run Cavim arms manufacturer, which developed the aircraft.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Latin America & Caribbean stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FilmsOnes to watch

    BBC Culture picks nine top films coming out next month

Programmes

  • A computer simulation showing a planned station upgrade in Hong KongClick Watch

    Simulated world - how architects are using virtual and augmented reality to transform our cities

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.