Oct. 23, 2013 defense-unmanned.com
(Source: EU Observer; published Oct. 22, 2013)
Ashton Calls for Military-Grade Drones In EU Airspace
BRUSSELS --- A security strategy paper by EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton says EU countries should use military-grade drones for border surveillance.
The EU chief is set to debate security ideas with MEPs in the plenary chamber in Strasbourg on Wednesday (23 October).
Her plan, which outlines priorities in the lead up to an EU summit on defence in December, notes that there is “an urgent need to prepare a programme for the next generation” of so-called Medium Altitude Long Endurance (Male) drones.
It adds that: "The objective is to promote a European approach for developing this key future capability."
Germany, France, Italy and the UK already have the machines, but only use them in military-led operations.
But industry wants to make drones that can be used for both military and civilian operations, such as border control, but also for monitoring agriculture, civilian infrastructure and natural disasters.
The idea is to allow authorities to easily switch MALE equipment according to mission type.
Big EU defence companies are already lining up. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the EU Observer website.