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Germany faces inflated Nato drone bill

The Local · 9 May 2012, 07:00

Published: 09 May 2012 07:00 GMT+02:00

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News magazine Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday it had seen a 17-page dossier saying that Germany was likely to have to pay significantly more than initially agreed for the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) - to plug a financial gap left by other countries who have backed out of the Nato project.

The dossier also says that German armed forces are expected to spend €260 million on up to four of its own unmanned drones in order to ensure the AGS capabilities.

And although costs to the German budget are spiralling, the government is determined to support the concept, which is described as of “paramount significance” for military-political and operative considerations, the dossier says.

Germany will do, “everything possible to contribute to its success,” it continues, according to Der Spiegel.

Nato defence ministers finally reached a compromise over the AGS project this spring, with German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziére calling the drones pioneering.

They are due to be presented as the perfect example of smart defence policies at the Nato summit in Chicago later this month – along with the idea that cooperation in buying defence capabilities will lead to greater force with less money.

The idea for AGS dates back to 2007, Der Spiegel said, when eight Global Hawk drones were planned. These giant drones are as big as a commercial plane and are packed full of surveillance equipment.

At the time 17 Nato nations said they would contribute to the financing, with the US and Germany signing up to pay two thirds of the €1.2 billion needed.

But since then Turkey, Poland, Denmark and Canada have dropped out, citing budgetary shortfalls. The project was downgraded to just five Global Hawks – and as the dossier now makes clear, at one point the entire AGS project was written off by German politicians. Delays have also contributed to an increase in the cost – to nearly €1.5 billion.

Germany will now face a bill of €483 million – around a third of the whole cost – rather than the original contribution of €400 million.

Story continues below…

Nato military bosses say they desperately need the new system – after having to admit that airborne operations over Libya were almost completely dependent on American surveillance drones and planes.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:57 May 9, 2012 by Jibzy
US probably uses diplomatic pressure to make Germany spend this money. Why would German spend millions of euros at preventing something that will most likely never happen to them.

It is sad that just because US wants hegemony over the world, some homeless guys in Neuköln will be getting lesser food every day.
11:15 May 9, 2012 by The-ex-pat
At the time 17 Nato nations said they would contribute to the financing, with the US and Germany signing up to pay two thirds of the €1.2 billion needed..............

Seems like someone saw Germany coming from way off. Mind you it is generally the UK that gets suckered into deals like that...............
11:37 May 9, 2012 by catjones
@Jibzy...still taking your leap-in-logic pills eh?
12:26 May 9, 2012 by parlau
The USA alreay use these drones to spy on their own population, how long before that state of affairs is copied here in Europe?
14:40 May 9, 2012 by insight101

Please read the last sentence of the article. NATO had to admit that they were almost completely reliant on U.S. support. NATO is an organization that other countries belong to...so it seems logical that they should have to help pay for its initiatives. Second, to the usual blaming the U.S. for diplomatic pressure. I was pressured to take drugs when I was in school among other things, but that is not the same as being forced. Germans and Germany need to take responsibility for their decisions instead of blaming others. If you don't morally agree with it, don't do it. It is ridiculous how almost every controversial article on GERMAN news here, the U.S. is what you blog about. Deal with your problems instead of always shifting the focus elsewhere.
16:26 May 9, 2012 by Jibzy

Dear patriotic American, to convince me to pay for something, you would first make me want to do that something. Germany (and the US for that matter) has nothing to do in the middle east (except exploit those countries for oil and fight proxy wars now and then).

Germans have taken responsibility for their decisions. Has your America ever done that? Has US ever apologized to any country it bombed or civilians it killed? Do you want a list of crimes US government committed but never apologized for? I dont know if you guys in the US can access it because Google might be censoring those sites for you. Let me know and I'll email them to you from the first world.

But you are right, i dont blame the US entirely. The US only offers bribes and pressurizes other countries. It is the others that take bribes and fall under the pressure. I hope that in this election, like i hope in every election, Germany gets an independent governtment instead of one that sucks up to the US.
17:20 May 9, 2012 by starsh3ro
well, i hope the usa wont completely infect us with their paranoia.

nobody really needs all this toys,
00:13 May 10, 2012 by MIKE LOUGHNANE
about time Europeans payed for there defence. The american taxpayer has been paying the bill for to long. ps after witness nato in action last year you certainly need defence or a miracle
11:34 May 10, 2012 by MattyB
Mike Loughnane has it right. I hope everyone on here bashing America realizes that we have been paying your defense bills since the end of WWII. Your armed forces have been allowed to reach their pathetic state because we're here to bleed and die for you. Time to start picking up the bill, because we are facing our own budget problems in the States. Or, you could just start writing checks to D.C., and we'll continue to be your "real" military force.
12:48 May 10, 2012 by insight101

Newsflash: I knew long before coming to Germany that America has a history of both good and bad things including oppression. I also knew that that has been true of every nation since the beginning of mankind including Germany and including Germany of today, lest you should say that was before...And where does your nation and people get their "accurate" info about America? You think it just gets in the news magically or is it American activists or news reports or critical debates that they got from Americans?

And if elements of the American government or American companies are exploiting people in those countries, that is wrong. Just as it is wrong that those countries governments and leaders have been exploiting their own people, and just as it is in most any other country. But none of it justifies the manufactured hate that is manifest in these blogs for people whose nationality is American. Don't know what country you are from, but if it's like an average European country in population, just remember that if half the American people are against the actions of the government in a foreign country, that means more Americans are against it than the entire population of your country. So you could be a little nicer in your view. Remember, you're making it sound like you are better. So you shouldn't have any problems with hating any nationality. I certainly dont hate anyone on such grounds. And you don't know me. So your label "Patriotic American" is only an opinion, not necessarily fact.
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