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German lawmakers veto funding of NATO's drone project

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, May 10, IRNA -- German lawmakers vetoed a government request to fund a NATO surveillance project 20 years in the making that will use unmanned aerial vehicles to collect information, press reports said here Thursday.

The budget committee gave thumbs down to the 1.5 billion euro Alliance Ground Surveillance project, citing the skyrocketing costs.

The controversial program, with its main operating base in Italy, would cost Germany around 483 million euros.

Germany signed reportedly a memorandum of understanding with 13 other countries, among them the US, in 2009.

Conceived in 1992, the system would allow NATO to perform surveillance over wide areas from high-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned aerial platforms operating at considerable stand-off distances and in any weather or light condition.

The western military pact claims the surveillance system would help monitor weapons of mass destruction and military force build-ups, evacuation operations, civil unrest and anti-piracy.

OT**1412
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 1017549



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