The U.S. State Department has authorized the sale of five General Atomics-built MQ-9 Reaper drones to the Spanish military, the first time the European country has bought the unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV. The value of the sale, which includes the aircraft, parts and logistical support, will be a little more than $240 million, according to details of the deal released Tuesday evening by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a federal body that governs sales between U.S. defense manufacturers and foreign militaries.
Spain joins the U.K., Italy, France and the U.S. as countries operating the drone, which normally comes armed. The Spaniards say they will be using their versions of the UAV purely for reconnaissance.
“The Spanish air force intends to use the MQ-9s for homeland security, peacekeeping, peace enforcement, counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations,” according to the sale listing on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s website. “The proposed sale improves Spain’s ability to meet current and future threats by providing improved ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] coverage that promotes increased battlefield situational awareness, anticipates enemy intent, augments combat search and rescue, and provides ground troop support.”