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Does Your Reaper Speak Italian...or German?

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After posting the story this morning about the Iraqi M1 tanks (and, by the way, how ironic is it that the tanks used to topple the Baghdad government in 2003 will be the same one they buy for the new army?) I went over to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency web site and took a look at some of their FMS deal announcements.

One -- actually, two -- jumped out at me.

It seems that both Italy and Germany have asked to buy a few MQ-9 Reaper unmanned air vehicles. These, of course, are the killer drones that fire missiles and drop bombs covertly and are credited with quite a few high-value target kills in Pakistan's NWFP.

I thought there were several of these sorts of planes in development domestically for these EU countries, but I guess it's a question of the shortest distance between two points or they're being asked to fill in for shortfalls on missions in Afghanistan.

The Government of Italy has requested a possible sale of 4 MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), 3 Mobile Ground Control Stations, five years of maintenance support, engineering support, test equipment, ground support, operational flight test support, communications equipment, technical assistance, personnel training/equipment, spare and repair parts, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $330 million.

...although there's not mention of Afghanistan in the above solicitation for Italy.

The Government of Germany has requested a possible sale of 5 MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), 4 Mobile Ground Control Stations, one year of maintenance support, engineering support, test equipment, ground support, operational flight test support, communications equipment, technical assistance, personnel training/equipment, spare and repair parts, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $205 million.

But they did mention Afghanistan here...

Germany requests these capabilities to provide for the defense of deployed troops, regional security, and interoperability with the United States. This program will increase Germanys ability to contribute to future NATO, coalition, and anti-terrorism operations that the U.S. may undertake. Germany is a staunch supporter of the Global War on Terror and has over 3,000 military participating in coalition operations in Afghanistan with the U.S. By acquiring this capability, Germany will be able to provide the same level of protection for its own forces as those of the United States.

Though I doubt the Germans will be willing to take the heat after schwaking a bad guy in Pakistan, maybe it's going to free up some assets for more U.S. hits in the NWFP.

-- Christian

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