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Israel, France Team Up for Killer Drones

It's bad enough that Israel is selling weapons to China. But France? Quel horreur!sperwerB.jpg"A French company plans to display a tactical drone armed with advanced Israeli air-to-ground missiles at the 2005 Paris Air Show, in a bid to make France a leader in unmanned combat aircraft," Defense News reports.

The Sperwer B, designed for battlefield reconnaissance, has been fitted with two Spike long-range, precision-strike missiles...Israeli government-owned Rafael Armament Development Authority makes the Spike ER (extended range) guided weapon. The missile carries an advanced electro-optic system with a combined daytime camera and infrared seeker and fiber-optic data link. The 33-kilogram Spike ER is designed for precision strikes against small, moving ground targets at ranges of up to eight kilometers...The Franco-Israeli cooperation on the drone marks a political turn for Paris, Jean-Paul Hbert, of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes et Sciences Sociales, said. France sold Israel Dassault Mirage fighters used with devastating effect in the 1967 Six-Day War, but has not sold much military equipment to Israel since then.
France, already pushing ahead on several killer drone projects, isn't the only European country developing armed robots to roam the skies. According to Aviation Week, England's BAE Systems is working on a "classified low-radar-observable UCAV [unmanned combat aerial vehicle] project, dubbed Nightjar, for the British Defense Ministry."
The program, suggest industry sources, has a twofold purpose. The first is to ensure the technology base for the development of a low-observable UCAV; the second is to provide leverage should the U.K. decide to participate in any comparable U.S. effort...Earlier this year the British Defense Ministry joined the Pentagon's Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems program. Work from Nightjar will inevitably inform the U.K. participation. While the ministry remains publicly noncommittal as to whether it will pursue a European or a U.S. path... all indications are that U.S. route is far more likely.The joint work will conclude with "live and virtual manned and unmanned assets from both nations operating in a networked coalition warfare scenario." It's possible that a Nightjar UCAV could take part in [U.S. drone test flights] in 2009.
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