Germany to buy first armed drones
Published: 25 Jan 2013 08:54 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Jan 2013 08:54 GMT+01:00
The German government has for the first time declared its intention to buy armed drones, it was reported Friday. Up until now, the German military has only used unmanned aircraft for reconnaissance and spying.
The government has finally bowed to Bundeswehr demands to buy drones for foreign military mission, news magazine Der Spiegel reported.
In a response to an official information request issued by the socialist Left party and revealed to the magazine, the government said that armed unmanned aircraft were "absolutely necessary for protection in sudden changes in certain situations."
Unlike unarmed drones, the aircraft could "quickly and precisely mount scaleable attacks" on recognized targets. "As well as this, the capability would provide enemy forces with a constant and for them unpredictable threat that would limit their ability to act."
The drones would provide a "credible deterrent" to enemies, the statement said.
The use of even unarmed drones has already met considerable political opposition in Berlin.
While Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union and the centre-left Social Democratic Party both see the use of drones as acceptable, the Green party, The Left party and some members of the government's junior coalition partner the Free Democratic Party, all oppose the rapid expansion of drone warfare worldwide.
Many politicians fear that spy drones will also be used increasingly to monitor the German population.
"I am vehemently opposed to the Bundeswehr's drone strategy," Left party MP Andrej Hunko told the magazine. "I'm also critical of the expansion of the use of reconnaissance drones."
But the government statement insists that unmanned drones will be used "exclusively within the framework of their constitutionally-bound and mandated mission."