THE US State Department authorised the sale of four unmanned aircraft to Spain, at a cost of $243 million (€216 million), on Tuesday, October 6.
The sale includes four MQ-9 Block 5 drones, 20 embedded Global Positioning Systems, two mobile ground control stations, five targeting systems and five radars.
The Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement: “The Spanish Air Force intends to use the MQ-9s for homeland security, peacekeeping, peace enforcement, counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations.”
US Secretary of Defence, Ash Carter, has just visited Spain as part of a wider European tour. The United States uses similar aircraft (armed versions of the Reaper) in combat, however, the vehicles set for Spain would not be armed.
The drone is manufactured by General Atomics and is already operated by the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
The Reaper has a wing span of 20 metres (66 feet), can fly to a maximum height of 13,700 metres (45,000 feet) and can fly continuously for 24 hours.
Further details of the deal include twenty Embedded Global Positioning Systems / Inertial Guidance Units, two Mobile Ground Control Stations, five Multi Spectral Targeting Systems and five Synthetic Aperture Radars.
With the DSCA having approved the deal it is now to be confirmed by US Congress and after the contract details are finalised, Spain and the United States can begin the sale.