MADRID — The Spanish Ministry of Defense is still considering offers from General Atomics and Israel Aerospace Industries  to both companies  buy four surveillance drones, a MoD source told Defense News on Friday.

General Atomics is offering the MQ-9 Reaper and IAI the Israel Aerospace Industries (Heron TP.)", official source of MoD has told Defense News on Friday.

Spain's 2016 defense budget The Spanish MoD budget for 2016 sets aside €25 million (US $27 million) to buy four reconnaissance drones and two ground control stations. According to the investment plan that accompanies the budget, the program will cost a total of €171 million ($184 million) between 2016 and 2020.

"We are still analyzing both bids from the economic and technical point of view. The decision is still open," the MoD same official source of  MoD has added. General Atomics is allied with Spanish company Sener and IAI Israel Aerospace Industries with Spanish technology firm Indra. as their domestic partner.
MQ-9 Reaper vs. Heron TP
 

The MQ-9 Reaper, which has a wingspan of 20 meters, is used by the UK, France and Italy, and has been ordered by the Netherlands. This is the option favored by the Air Force, favorite Spanish Air Force option, according to military sources. consulted by Defense News. 

The Heron TP, with a wingspan of 26 meters, is used by Israeli Defense Forces. Spain already uses the counts on Searcher MK II J developed by IAI the same manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries and deployed by the Spanish Army in Afghanistan for six years. 

The European defense industry does not produce reconnaissance drones like the Reaper, which is capable of flying 24 hours non-stop and can reach a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet.

The Spanish Navy, deployed in Operation Atalanta in the western Indian Ocean, operates a Boeing Insitu ScanEagle UAV on board a landing platform dock. The Spanish Army also has mini-drones, such as the Raven developed by the US company AeroVironment.

Email: Evillarejo@defensenews.com

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