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Pentagon Allocates $40 Million to Provide Spy Planes to Yemen

Spy planes will be used to battle Al Qaeda and insurgents operating in the region.

A Seabird Seeker light observation aircraft equiped with highly sophisticated surveillance technology flies at the Skukuza Airport in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, on December 4, 2012. Faced with a dizzying spike in the rate of rhino killings, South Africa announced on December 4 it was deploying a reconnaissance aircraft to combat poaching. Over 500 rhinos have already been killed in South Africa this year alone, most of them in the Kruger National Park. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Pentagon counterterrorism officials are allocating $40 million to retrofit the Yemeni military with a new fleet of spy planes that will be used to battle Al Qaeda and insurgents operating in the region.

Defense Department officials are preparing to buy 12 Seabird Seeker surveillance aircraft for Yemen, The Hill reported Tuesday night.

A Seabird Seeker light observation aircraft equiped with highly sophisticated surveillance technology flies at the Skukuza Airport in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, on December 4, 2012. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

The fleet of small, fixed-wing surveillance planes will be equipped with electro-optic and infrared sensors, at a cost of $27.2 million, according to a Pentagon notice sent to lawmakers on Capital Hill.

The Pentagon has also allocated $11.4 million in funding to buy 48 surveillance "stations", that will let Yemeni forces track imagery intelligence gathered from the spy planes. These stations will be mounted in vehicles that will allow the Yemeni military to track the insurgents while moving, the Defense officials stated in the memo.

Other stations will be fixed on the ground or aboard ships, The Hill reported.

Pentagon officials said they will send the equipment starting in September and will complete the deliveries by the end of 2014, according to the report.

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