Defence to deploy mini spy planes
Mini spy planes ordered to protect troops in Afghanistan.
8 January 2008
MADRID - The Spanish Defence Ministry has ordered 27 miniature spy planes for urgent delivery in an effort to increase the safety and security of Spanish peacekeeping troops operating in Afghanistan and Lebanon, military sources have disclosed.
The planes - similar in size to large remote-controlled aircraft used by hobbyists, but with video and infrared cameras attached - will operate as an additional set of eyes in the sky for Spanish troops. They are being bought at a cost of EUR 3.09 million from Spanish contractor Aerlyper, but without a tender in order to speed up their delivery.
The planes, which are 1.5 metres long and weigh just 2.5 kilos, have a range of 10 kilometres and can remain airborne for up to 90 minutes, flying at a speed of around 30 kilometres per hour. According to one military expert, the Spanish armed forces will use them to "see over the top of a hill or around a corner" in order to protect troops on patrol.
All of the 10 Spanish soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Lebanon last year died from mines and roadside explosive devices, some of which could probably have been spotted from the air.
[Copyright El Pais / MIGUEL GONZÁLEZ 2008]
Subject: Spanish news