The Danish ministry of defence has finalised a deal with a Canadian defence contractor to dispose of its 10-strong fleet of Sagem Sperwer tactical unmanned air vehicles (UAV) for the unit cost of one.
The previously-owned UAVs were acquired by Denmark in 2002 for DKr425 million ($73 million), but the kingdom has accepted a bargain offer of C$7.7 million ($7 million) from Oerlikon Aerospace, the Quebec prime Sperwer contractor for the Canadian armed forces, despite the fact that the machines are barely used.
Denmark suspended flights of the Sperwer in February 2005 after the latest in a series of malfunctions that have plagued the UAVs' service with Danish forces. Defence Minister Soren Gade told the country's parliament last month that the performance of what he called the "unreliable" Sperwer "has been worse than expected".
Danish officials have cited other countries' problems in addition their own. The UAVs have "failed to operate in Iraq’s desert heat and were unable to take off from high-altitude runways in Afghanistan,” Gade says.
Denmark turned down an offer form Sagem of upgraded models.
However, Canada has a requirement for the type for its Afgan missions and bargained with Denmark until the Scandinavian country accepted an offer that is one-tenth of the original price. The 10 pre-owned UAVs have accumulated a mere 124h of flying time in operatiosn between 2002 and 2004.
The Canadian military will collect the drones from Denmark at its own cost before the end of the week, the Danish defence ministry says.