A NATO official says the military alliance will buy U.S.-made reconnaissance drones and equipment for over a billion euros (dollars), after the war in Libya highlighted shortcomings in its surveillance and targeting capabilities.
The official said Wednesday the total included five Northrop Grumman Global Hawks, ground control stations, analysis equipment, and training for operators. He spoke on condition of anonymity following NATO rules.
The official said the order, which coincides with sharp defense cuts across the alliance, is expected to be signed in spring.
He said 13 NATO nations will band together to buy the drones, which can stay aloft for 36 hours. The alliance will then use them on behalf of all 28 members.
The drones will be based at Sigonella, Italy, and operated by about 600 service members.