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4 juin 2012 1 04 /06 /juin /2012 07:05

Italian MQ-9 Reaper taxis


June 03, 2012 Akhtar Jamal - pakobserver.net


Islamabad—According to Airforce-technology.com the United States is now planning to arm Italy’s fleet of MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with missiles and bombs, in a bid to “protect Italian armed forces from enemy threats” in Afghanistan.


Until now the United States and Britain had been using drones against “enemy elements” but almost all drones attacks carried out along Pak-Afghan borders areas had been carried out by American CIA.


The website claimed that the Obama administration was likely to announce the deal within two weeks, following which the US-built drones, operated by Italian air forces, will be equipped with weapons such as laser-guided bombs and Hellfire missiles.


The publication quoted Pentagon spokesman, George Little, as saying: “Italy is one of our strongest partners and Nato allies, and it’s important for us, for a variety of reasons, to share technologies and capabilities with them for purposes of burden sharing and to enable them to better protect themselves and, by extension, to protect the United States and our other allies.”


American CIA carries out drone attacks citing “threats from unidentified enemies” and there are fears that if armed with missiles the Italian drones may also hit “possible enemies” considered as “threat to NATO forces”.


The report added that “Italy currently operates surveillance drones to protect its troops deployed to Afghanistan and it is likely that around six of them will be armed.”


The proposed sale may also assist the US in reallocating the global military operations burden, especially at a time when the Pentagon’s budget is facing deficit-reduction by requirements, report added.


According to the report the MQ-9 Reaper is a medium-to-high altitude UAV primarily designed for reconnaissance and surveillance and uses several kinds of sensors, including a thermal camera, and has six stores pylons that can carry a maximum of 4,600lb of weapons and external fuel tanks.

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