The United States is selling unmanned aerial vehicles to Iraq that are to be used to keep watch over offshore petroleum production facilities, according to published reports.
The U.S. Navy is selling about a dozen “ScanEagle” UAVs to the Iraqi Navy, and the drones’ surveillance technology will enable the aircraft to maintain surveillance on oil platforms located in the Persian Gulf 24 hours per day, the reports say. The UAVs are expected to be airborne by the end of 2012.
Insitu Inc., an international producer of UAVs, and the Boeing Company, the world’s largest aerospace company, developed the ScanEagle, which the U.S. Navy has been using since 2005. The U.S. Navy launches its ScanEagles off the decks of ships, and the Iraqi Navy is expected to do the same to watch the offshore oil facilities.
The sale of the UAVs to Iraq is part of a $15 billion package of U.S. military hardware, including F-16 fighter aircraft, M-1 tanks and armored personnel carriers.