Spain is to acquire a single tactical unmanned air vehicle system to support its army units deployed as part of NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The Spanish government announced on 19 January that approvals for a spend of up to €17 million ($22 million) for the Plataforma autónoma sensorizada de inteligencia (PASI) acquisition had been approved, with a deal to be finalised this calendar year.

© Canadian Army

 Lessons from deployed NATO UAV systems in Afghanistan, such as this Canadian army Sperwer, have sparked Spanish government decisions to acquire a single tactical system to provide overwatch for its deployed forces.

It said that the utility of UAVs in the Afghanistan theatre has been clearly demonstrated by other NATO member states. Spain heads NATO’s Qaleh-ye-Now provincial reconstruction team in the Badghis province of western of Afghanistan.

No details of the competitive process to be used for the PASI acquisition have yet been released.

PASI will be Spain’s first operational UAV system and will comprise four air vehicles, a single ground control station, launcher and recovery system, and a remote viewing terminal capability.

The 19 January announcement indicates the system will predominantly be used in conducting overwatch missions and is expected to support round the clock operations.

Tactical UAV systems currently deployed in Afghanistan by NATO forces include the AAI Shadow 200B, Elbit Skylark, EMT Aladin and Luna, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Predator A and Sagem Sperwer.