Thirteen NATO countries, including Estonia, are going to jointly buy unmanned reconnaissance aircraft manufactured in the United States.
The allied countries will spend about one billion euros on the purchase of Global Hawk drones from Northrop Grumman, an official of the alliance said on Wednesday. The drones will be located at the NATO base at Sigonella in Sicily and their use will cost 2 billion euros over 20 years, said the official who wished to remain unidentified.
The drones will be bought in order to fill the gap that became apparent in the Libyan air war. "Libya showed the importance of having that capability," he said. Mainly European countries bore the load of carrying out air raids against Libya, but to a large extent they depended on US drones that made it possible to identify and attack targets.
The buyers of the new drones are 13 NATO countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United States. All the allied countries will be using the drones and will help bear the cost of their operation. France and Great Britain will contribute to the drones programme by their own reconnaissance aircraft.