The Switzerland parliament has approved to acquire six Israeli surveillance drones, worth $256 million.
The Council of States approved the purchase Monday by 30 votes against 12, whereas a left-wing minority argued in particular on human rights issues but failed to block the acquisition, the department of defense announced today.
National defense will be equipped six unarmed Hermes 900 reconnaissance drones, made by the Israeli company Elbit.
The aircraft capture images of the ground situation and identify targets in case of combat. They will start operating after the current system is retired.
The Hermes fleet is aimed for use by the Corps of Border Guards. "It's not a combat model, but it acts as a scout. We do not intend to arm it," said Defence Minister Ueli Maurer.
The drone has endurance of over 30 hours and can fly at a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet for primary mission of reconnaissance, surveillance as well as communications relay.