Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Iraqi military to buy unmanned US drones to monitor oil fields

American military drones are returning to the skies above Iraq more than five months after U.S. troops withdrew from the country.

But this time, the drones will be operated by members of the Iraqi navy and will provide overwatch for the country's oil platforms off its southern coast, U.S. officials in Baghdad said Wednesday.

The deal being will cover the sale of roughly 12 of the U.S. Navy's Scan Eagle unmanned drones, a State Department official told The Hill on Monday.

The drones will be equipped with surveillance packages that will allow the aircraft to conduct day and night missions, the official said on the condition of anonymity.

The official ruled out any possibility of arming the Scan Eagles for offensive operations by the Iraqi military, noting it was "not even feasible" to arm the drone.

The Iraqi military already owns and operates a number of Scan Eagle drone to support its ongoing security operations. The biggest issue will be training Iraqi sailors to operate the aircraft on the open sea, the official said. Read more......

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