• Germany edition
 
Defence minister: We need armed drones
A German military technician with a Heron 1 reconnaissance drone in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. Photo: DPA

Defence minister: We need armed drones

Published: 02 Jul 2014 09:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 Jul 2014 09:51 GMT+02:00

Ahead of an address in parliament on Wednesday, Minister von der Leyen told the Süddeutsche Zeitung: “I am convinced that we should develop a European armed drone. We’re looking for partners for the project which will take at least a decade.”

But some of the Social Democrats (SPD), who are in a coalition government with von der Leyen’s party, are sceptical. 

SPD defence policy spokesman Rainer Arnold supported von der Leyen's pro-drone position, others have rejected the proposal.

"I personally have big problems with [the suggestion]," said head of the SPD parliamentary fraction Christine Lambrecht. "I'm not of the opinion that equipping the military in this way would be correct."  

Gregor Gysi, parliamentary leader of the leftist Die Linke, reacted to the comments by calling for a “broad resistance” against armed drones.

And economist Tobias Lindner of the Green Party accused von der Leyen of “contempt of parliament” for telling the newspaper about her plans prior to addressing politicians on Wednesday afternoon.

The German military has long called for combat drones, arguing it will protect the lives of their soldiers.

The defence minister said Germany would initially hire armed drones for specific operations abroad.

By leasing drones rather than buying them, the military would get around the legal barrier which had previously scuppered plans to use Euro Hawk armed drones – they wouldn’t need approval in German airspace.

But von der Leyen wants Germany to have its own combat drones in the medium and longer term. 

Leading European aerospace firms Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Alenia Aermacchi in May launched a lobbying drive for a European combat drone.

"Europe’s industry is ready to develop a next generation advanced European Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)," they said in a joint press release.

The German military has used Israeli reconnaissance drones called Heron 1 in Afghanistan, but they are too small to carry weapons. 

SEE ALSO: Armed drone debate divides Germany

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spring back in German consumers' step?
Photo: DPA

Spring back in German consumers' step?

Update: Consumer confidence in Germany has stopped falling, as households appear to be no longer fazed by concerns about the economic fallout from geopolitical crises, a new poll found on Friday. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 26
An eyewitness captured the moment of the explosion on their phone. Photo: DPA

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 26

UPDATE: One person has died and 26 others are injured after a huge explosion in Ludwigshafen, western Germany on Thursday. READ  

Germany has just ten Ebola beds
Photo: DPA

Germany has just ten Ebola beds

Doctors at high-level infectious disease clinics say that caring for patients with the Ebola virus is much more intensive than they first thought, meaning they can handle fewer cases at once. READ  

Refugee Crisis
Now Berlin turns to tents to house refugees
A refugee protests on the roof of the former Gerhart Hauptmann School in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Now Berlin turns to tents to house refugees

Berlin has turned to huge tents and shipping containers to shelter growing numbers of refugees. With winter approaching, city politicians have called on the federal government for help. READ  

Clueless Merkel forgets the F-word
Merkel suffers from Wortfindungsstörung at the IT summit in Hamburg. Photo: DPA

Clueless Merkel forgets the F-word

Angela Merkel's government is often criticized for its lack of understanding of all things digital and an appearance by the chancellor in Hamburg, which was supposed to change those perceptions, has only made things worse. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,526
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd