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Iran Press TV

Top defense firms call for European drone program

Iran Press TV

Sun Jun 16, 2013 2:48PM GMT

Top defense firms including France's Dassault Aviation, European aerospace giant EADS and Italy's Finmeccania have called on European governments to launch a joint program to produce surveillance drones.

The three leading manufacturers said in a Sunday statement that the joint program would "support the capability needs of European armed forces while optimizing the difficult budgetary situation through pooling research and development funding."

The statement also said that the three firms are ready to produce a European MALE (medium-altitude, long-endurance) drone.

This comes after French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday that Paris intended to purchase a total of 12 US-made unarmed Reaper surveillance drones at the cost of 670 million euros (USD 894 million).

This is while, French Air Force, used Israeli-made armed unmanned drones during its war on the West African country of Mali.

France launched a war in the resource-rich African country in January 11, 2013 under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters in the country.

Also, last month, Germany cancelled plans to purchase and modify US-made Global Hawk drones.

The US-made drones were planned to be equipped with special signal interception devices and then re-named to Euro Hawk.

German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere has come under criticism for the canceled project as opposition politicians say that 680 million euros (USD 875 million) have been squandered on the drone project.


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