April 7, 2013
In the midst of France’s Operation Serval in Mali, Paris is considering buying US-made unarmed surveillance drones to boost its military capabilities, a source from the defence ministry told AFP on Friday.
According to French weekly newspaper La Tribune, Paris made an official request to Washington to acquire US made Reaper drones – the same unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that the US adapted for targeted kills of al Qaeda fighters in Pakistan.
“A letter has been sent to Washington to evaluate the feasibility” of France possibly purchasing the drones, the source said. While the US Congress should grant permission for the sale of unarmed Reaper drones to France at the end of the year, Paris will have to wait until 2020 for surveillance and combat equipped drones.