Germany Rejigs Reconnaissance System Plan, Drops US Drones

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MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system Naval Air Station Patuxent River
A U.S. Navy MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system prepares to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., Sept. 18, 2014, after completing a cross-country flight from California. (U.S. Navy photo/Kelly Schindler)

BERLIN — Germany said Tuesday it is abandoning plans to install a new airborne reconnaissance system on U.S.-made drones and will instead install it on manned aircraft.

The defense ministry said it concluded that the existing plan wouldn't allow it to get the system up and running by 2025, as called for by NATO, and would be significantly more expensive than expected.

The initial plan was for PEGASUS — an acronym for “Persistent German Airborne Surveillance System” — to be integrated into the U.S. Triton drone platform.

The defense ministry said it had spent recent months considering various options to reduce costs and eventually decided to turn to manned planes.

Officials have said that the system is meant to capture military radio and radar transmissions as part of efforts to protect troops.

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