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NATO Turning to UAVs for Alliance Security

The units would cover land and sea areas, including transportation routes and oil and gas installations

NATO plans to acquire unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to conduct surveillance for the entire security of the alliance, according to published reports.

Under the plan NATO would own and operate the high-altitude UAVs that would cover land and sea areas—including transportation routes and oil and gas installations—and would be controlled from a ground station in Italy. The UAVs are expected to be operational by 2017.

Norway is among the states planning to acquire UAVs that, along with the UAVs of other NATO members can provide “the nations of the alliance access to strategic capabilities that are disproportionately expensive to acquire alone,” says Norwegian Defense Minister Espen Barth Eide. “This decision is therefore a very good example of why it is important for Norway to join the NATO,” he said.

“NATO nations show, with this decision, that there is a political will to work together to invest in public safety despite the difficult economic situation that affects many countries,” Eide says.