The Italian Almanac

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Drones in Sicily

NATO defense ministers reached an accord on a 1.3-billion-euro plan that involves building a base for surveillance drones in Sicily. "It's good deal, big deal, done deal," said Ivo Daalder, U.S. ambassador to NATO, on Twitter.

The system, known as airborne ground surveillance (AGS), will be based at Naval Air Station Sigonella, a joint NATO and Italian Air Force base outside Catania. According to a NATO statement, the system "will enable the Alliance to perform persistent surveillance over wide areas from high-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned aerial platforms operating at considerable stand-off distances".

The system will have a wide range of uses, according to NATO, such as anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and preventing roadside-bomb attacks in Afghanistan.