U.S. Military Sends Deadly Drones Into Heart of Europe

The U.S. military sent reaper drones into the heart of Europe, marking the first time that U.S. military drones will be based out of Greece.

The MQ-9 Reaper drones are now stationed in the Larisa Air Force Base, located near the Aegean Sea, according to reports. Officials said the drones will be stationed in Greece temporarily while their regular base in Africa is under reconstruction. The U.S. began regularly flying armed drones over Niger last year, where they are used to fight the proliferation of extremist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The MQ-9 reaper drones are armed, long-endurance aircraft that can be commanded remotely, and they can be used for intelligence collection and combat.

"Given its significant loiter time, wide-range sensors, multi-mode communications suite, and precision weapons—it provides a unique capability to perform strike, coordination, and reconnaissance against high-value, fleeting, and time-sensitive targets," according to the U.S. Air Force. "Reapers can also perform the following missions and tasks: intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-lase, convoy or raid overwatch, target development, and terminal air guidance. The MQ-9's capabilities make it uniquely qualified to conduct irregular warfare operations in support of combatant commander objectives."

U.S. Air Force officials told reporters that the drones stationed in Greece would be unarmed, but it is unclear how long the drones will be stationed in that country. The U.S. has just one military base in the country, but Greek media have suggested that the two countries are considering ways to increase their military cooperation. The U.S. closed two of its military bases in Greece in 1990.

"The United States provides military assistance to Greece through the International Military Education Training program, which forges lasting relationships between Greece's emerging military leaders and their U.S. counterparts," according to the White House. "Additionally, Greece hosts Naval Support Activity Souda Bay on the island of Crete - an important military installation that supports the regional objectives of the United States and NATO."