By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2014 – The United States is speeding delivery of unmanned aerial vehicles Iraq purchased under the foreign military sales program to help in tracking and thwarting al-Qaida-affiliated groups, a Pentagon spokesman said today.
“We’re expediting delivery of 10 operational ScanEagles for part of the original purchase, as well as an additional four nonoperational ScanEagles, which will be sent to help facilitate maintenance of the original 10,” Army Col. Steven Warren told reporters.
The ScanEagle is a small and low-cost unmanned surveillance aircraft capable of up to 24 hours of flight.
Warren also reported that the original purchase included delivery of 75 Hellfire missiles in mid-December, with another 100 to be ready for delivery by spring. Officials also anticipate an additional 48 Raven surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles to be delivered in the spring, he added.
The Defense Department is committed to promoting stability in Iraq, Warren said, noting the delivery of more than $14 billion in equipment, services and training to the Iraqi government since 2005.