France to buy American drones for Mali operation
Two of America’s medium-altitude Reaper drones will be sold to France as backup for the country’s operations against Islamist rebels in Mali.
The news comes from the ‘Air et Cosmos’ specialist magazine, which reported online that a deal had been reached between France and the United States for the sale of two non-armed MQ-9 units.
The French air force had already deployed a European-made Harfang drone to Mali, with the country now wishing to acquire more modern models quickly, although any purchase of the US Reapers directly from the manufacturer (as was done with Harfang) is expected to delay delivery by seven months.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is presently on a visit to the US, where he is expected to make the announcement, according to Air et Cosmos. The defense ministry has declined to comment.
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