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Spanish military to invest in spying megadrones

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Spanish military to invest in spying megadrones
A photo of an MQ-9 Reaper in the USA. Photo: Gerald L Nino / Wikimedia Commons
13:45 CEST+02:00
Spain plans to spend €171 million on four unmanned aircraft and the infrastructure to support them in order to boost its military surveillance capability.

The military budget for 2016 announced this week includes €25 million set aside for the "acquisition of RPAS unmanned air system", reported the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais on Thursday.

Spain's defence ministry will initially purchase one US manufactured MQ-9 Reaper and a Heron TP made by Israel Aerospace Industries as part of a drone project that will cost €171m over the next five years.

The system will eventually include four ‘megadrones' and two ground control stations to operate them.

But the drones, which can be equipped with bombs and missiles, will only be used with radar systems and other surveillance systems, according to the El Pais report.

Spanish forces already deploy smaller drones, such as the Raven, which way weigh less than 15kg and have a limited range of only 50 kilometers (31 miles).

The new 'megadrones' weigh several tons, take-off and land like conventional aircraft, and can fly above commercial airline routes.  

The UK already has ten Reaper drones which are regularly deployed over Afghanistan and more recently over Islamic State occupied territory in the Middle East.

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