WASHINGTON (Reuters/AFP) The Pentagon aims to deliver a fleet of surveillance drones to Pakistan within a year, but weaponised versions of the unmanned aircraft are still off-limits, a US military official said on Monday. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates announced plans in January to provide Islamabad with what aides said at the time were 12 Shadow drones, aiming to boost its ability to track insurgents. But a senior US military official, briefing reporters at the Pentagon on the condition of anonymity, said Islamabad was still weighing whether Shadow drones were the model of unmanned aircraft best suited to its needs. We looked at Shadows. We looked at Scan Eagles and other tactical UAVs that are out and about and what we want to do is try to find out which model is best, the official said, referring to drones as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Shadows are manufactured by AAI Corporation, a unit of Textron Systems, while Scan Eagles are manufactured by Boeing Co. Islamabad has also pressed for weaponised drones, like the ones the CIA is covertly using in Pakistan to track and kill al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents. The official, asked about that request, said general US policy was not to export weaponised capabilities of any drone aircraft. Washington has been reluctant to share sensitive technology so far. The number of surveillance drones that the United States would eventually provide to Pakistan depends on the cost of the model selected, the official said. A key factor will be how quickly we can get the capabilities to them, the official said. Pressed on timing, the official said: I would like to think that we would get them there within a year. Pakistan is already using some non-US, imported drone technology and has modified a C-130 military transport aircraft to allow some surveillance activities, the official said. Drones have proven to be a crucial technological advantage for the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq, allowing it to remotely track militants and giving commanders battleground imagery in real time. Gates told a Senate hearing last week it was in the US interest to try to help close allies get drone technology, despite limitations on exports imposed by an international pact, known as the Missile Technology Control Regime. The MTCR is a pact among at least 34 countries aimed at curbing the spread of unmanned delivery systems that could be used for weapons of mass destruction. Shadow drones - smaller than the armed Predator and Reaper aircraft - are about 11 feet long and have a wing-span of 14-feet with sensors and cameras feeding video images back to operators on the ground. Pakistans military already has some drones of its own production which it uses for surveillance, but which are less sophisticated than those manufactured by the United States. Last week, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the United States would improve its public standing if it let Islamabad spearhead armed drone attacks. Qureshi, in Washington for high-level talks, acknowledged in a CNN interview that drone attacks by US forces against extremists on Pakistani soil have taken out some valuable targets. But he said: The issue of sovereignty is there. People of Pakistan feel strongly about it. We want the ownership. We make the decision when to operate, he said. It will help improve the feelings in Pakistan, he said.