By Euro Weekly News Media • 26 May 2015 • 11:23
THE Spanish Defence Ministry is considering two bids, to build the country’s first major fleet of drones, one from an American company and another from Israel.While Spain already uses a number of small, reconnaissance drones, this new €300 million project would provide a long-range, more systematic surveillance.The proposed four craft would weigh up to five tonnes, take off like a standard aeroplane, and be able to sustain flight for 24 hours. They could have weapons fitted, although the ministry insists they would be used for surveillance only.Spain wants to have the system up and running by 2017.The American firm bidding to build the ‘Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance’ (MALE) drones is General Atomics, and the other is Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Both firms would involve Spain’s aerospace industry in production to a limited extent.The ministry says it will choose from the bids before the November general election at the latest. The project is portrayed as a stopgap until the EU completes its drone programme, due to be in use by 2025.
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