Spain has approved a proposal to buy four US Reaper surveillance drones worth a $27 million.
The defence ministry has selected the bid from General Dynamics, which has a teaming agreement with Spanish engineering firm Sener, to supply it with four Reaper drones, a ministry spokesman said.
“This type of equipment is necessary in operations today,” he added.
The Reaper, which had a wingspan of 20 metres (66 feet), is already used by Britain, France and Italy and has been ordered by the Netherlands.
The United States uses armed Reapers to fly in combat zones but Spain needs only an unarmed version of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The Reaper is capable of flying 24 hours continuously and can reach a maximum altitude of 13,700 metres (45,000 feet).
The defence ministry’s budget for 2016 was announced in parliament on Tuesday. It sets aside the amount to buy the drones as well as for two ground stations.
The entire five-year drone programme has a budget of 171 million euros.
Germany, France and Italy decided in May to spend 60 million euros on a technical study for a European drone project proposed by Airbus, France’s Dassault and Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi of the Finmeccanica group.
“The Spanish defence ministry is interested in the development of a European project,” the spokesman added.
Spain is the fifth European nation to equip itself with the US-made devices.