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US drones for Polish army

13.02.2023 01:00
Poland has received a batch of US-made military drones to conduct reconnaissance in areas including its eastern border, the country's defence minister has said.
Image: Polish Ministry of Defence/twitter.com/mblaszczak

The MQ-9A Reaper Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) drones have been leased from the United States and delivered to Poland as part of "an urgent operational need," Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on Sunday.

He added that the drones would be used by the Polish Air Force for reconnaissance purposes. 

"MQ-9A Reaper MALE class (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) drones, leased from the United States as an urgent operational need, have been delivered to Poland," Błaszczak wrote on Twitter on Sunday, as quoted by his ministry.

He added: "They will serve in the Polish Air Force, among others, conducting reconnaissance on our eastern border."

Błaszczak announced last February that Poland would buy a batch of sophisticated military drones in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

He said at the the time that the planned purchase of the MQ-9 Reaper drones was motivated by "an urgent operational need" created by Russia's attack on its southern neighbour.

The MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) is intended for air reconnaissance and combat missions, according to military experts.

The drone has a wingspan of more than 20 metres and can stay in the air for over 24 hours to gather intelligence, conduct reconnaissance and carry payloads, including ammunition, Polish news agency PAP reported.

In December 2021, government officials announced a deal to buy 100 new drones for the Polish army in an effort to boost its effectiveness on the modern battlefield.

Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak told a news conference at the time that the drones would be manufactured by a consortium of domestic producers between 2024 and 2027.

They will be equipped with special electro-optical instruments to enable users to conduct remote reconnaissance missions, detect threats and coordinate response operations, he also said.


Source: PAP