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Checkpoint Washington
Posted at 04:36 PM ET, 07/25/2011

Drone boom: French buying UAVs from Israel

Technicians work on an Heron drone at an army base in Israel. (AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Turns out we weren’t making it up when we told you about the global rush for drones.

The French Defense Ministry has agreed to purchase unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel, and the model the French are getting is the most sophisticated made by the Israelis, according to Haaretz. The drone, known as the Heron TP, or Eitan, is capable of being armed, but French officials say they will use their versions only for surveillance purposes.

Israel is the second-largest drone manufacturer after the United States. American officials have previously objected to the sale of sophisticated drones to other countries, including China and Russia.

In the latest deal, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) will work with the French firm Dassault Aviation SA.

The Jerusalem Post says the deal is estimated to reach a value “close to $500 million over a number of years and could lead to additional contracts for IAI as other countries, such as Germany, seek to upgrade their UAV capabilities.”

By  |  04:36 PM ET, 07/25/2011

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