Hydra Technologies Conquers the Skies
Hydra Technologies is a high flyer in the Mexican aerospace industry with its unmanned aerial systems, used both for civilian and military applications.
In December 2009, the weekly publication Milenio Semanal reported that the Mexican Navy was preparing to invest between 80 and 100 million usd in Ehécatl and Gavilán vehicles for security operations along Mexico’s southern border.
Echécatl and Gavilán are two of the creations of Hydra Technologies, a Mexican company based in Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco, that develops and manufactures Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).
The company’s history is as unique as its products. It started out as a pastime of young model airplane enthusiasts and over time developed into one of the key players of a sector, which, according to data provided by the Mexican Aerospace Industry Federation, generates annual exports worth more than 3 billion usd.
UAS provide a technological answer to many of the daily needs of armies and police forces around the world, as well as for civilian applications. These unmanned aircraft represent one of the most advanced tools used by the modern military as a complement to most of their operations.
“The unmanned aerial surveillance systems manufactured by Hydra have day/night and all weather capacity,” according to Hydra Technologies on their website www.hydratechnologies.com.
The main applications for these public security vehicles include: reconnaissance and pursuit of land and marine vehicles; air support operations in urban operations; long and short range covert aerial surveillance; regular monitoring flights of high risk urban areas; locating people at night with thermal cameras; detecting activity in large rural communities and mountainous terrain; surveillance of highways, borders, demonstrations and emergencies; intelligence gathering operations; and strategic support in kidnapping situations.
The UAS manufactured by Hydra Technologies are also used for environmental and civil protection work. For example, the Jalisco state government has used some of these vehicles to detect pollution along the Río Santiago which crosses the municipalities of El Salto and Juanacatlán, in Guadalajara’s metropolitan zone—the second most important of its type in Mexico.
During an interview with the Mural newspaper, on June 8, 2009, Álvaro Gutiérrez, a company representative, explained that some of Hydra Technologies’ aircraft were used to detect pests in forests and to monitor infrastructure works in specific cities.
“For civil protection, maps are drawn up of at-risk areas before the rainy season begins. Every year these aircraft are used to monitor stream beds. The Civil Protection agency uses them to make maps and identify areas that are at risk,” explains Gutiérrez. “They send in the unmanned aircraft, they make a photographic map of the area and that gives them better information for their prevention work.”
After operating for just over five years, and with an initial investment of around 10 million usd, the Jalisco-based company –whose unmanned vehicles can cost between 500,000 and 8 million usd– is soaring the skies of an international market with a growth potential ranging between 3.5 billion to 55 billion usd in the next 10 years.