France wants to buy 12 Reaper drones from the United States, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday, as ministry officials put the cost at 670 million euros ($889 million).
Le Drian said he wanted two Reapers to be deployed in sub-Saharan Africa, where France is battling Islamist militants in Mali.
The 10 others would be deployed in French and European skies.
The deal needs the approval of Congress. Le Drian said that if it did not give a go-ahead, France could buy the drones from Israel.
The Reapers are made by California-based General Atomics.