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Air Force calls for armed Euro-made drones

The Local · 24 Sep 2012, 11:14

Published: 24 Sep 2012 11:14 GMT+02:00

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Currently, Germany uses three unarmed drones for reconnaissance purposes in Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountain range, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Monday.

But despite a continuing ethical debate over whether or not to use armed drones – as the US military does in its anti-terrorism campaign – there is support in Germany to move in that direction.

The Commander of the German Air Force, or Luftwaffe maintained in a recent paper called “Air Power 2030” that there should be no question over Germany’s use of the capabilities of unmanned aircraft in “all areas,” including the use of weapons, the newspaper said.

But where Germany will get those future drones remains an open question. The country has a leasing contract for Israeli-built Heron 1 drones that expires at the end of 2014.

Defence Minister Thomas De Maizière and most specialists in the ruling coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU), Free Democrats (FDP), and the Christian Social Union (CSU), as well as some members of the opposition Social Democrats (SPD), want a long-term and multinational collaboration to develop European “unmanned aerial vehicles,” the paper reports.

France and Germany already have signed a corresponding letter of intent.

The Air Force’s Commander, Lieutenant General Karl Müllner, supports a purchase of the US Predator B drones, because they are regularly available, are a proven quantity, and are used by many NATO partners, the Süddeutsche Zeitung said.

But some politicians broth both the CDU and SPD argue that the purchase of US drones would deter development of a European drone, which they hope will reduce German dependence on US technology. The Defence Ministry has allotted €660 million over the next four years for the development of European unmanned aerial vehicles.

Story continues below…

The parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces Helmut Königshaus voiced his strong support for armed drones to the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

“If our soldiers had the availability of armed drones, they would no longer have to look on helplessly when our own people are being threatened, but instead could attack and drive out their opponents without harming their own units,” he said.

The Local/mbw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:58 September 24, 2012 by Onlythetruth
Maybe its a good idea. However, with the spread of drone technology the good guys had better be prepared to defend against drones as well as deploy them. The ugly fact is that in warfare there are no front lines anymore and once this new can of worms is opened there is no going back.
15:08 September 24, 2012 by michael4096
The next arms race. Drones are easy and cheap and as the west is showing, they can be used without any thought at all...
17:36 September 24, 2012 by sonriete
Are the Americans our friends and NATO allies, who have protected us from aggression for decades?

Or are they our enemies?

So much tax money is spent mimicking everything they do, does it really add to our bottom line or take away from it?

It is as though we always have to prove that we are as good as them and we have envy!

What was the need for galileo when there already existed GPS?

and the elites always stick us, the taxpayers with the bill, so they can feel like big men.
20:11 September 24, 2012 by Englishted
I am not sure on some points commentators have raised .

Surely control of the air space to deploy these as they are I believe detectable on radar .

But if Europe wants them buy them of the U.S.A. ,it would be useful to patrol the borders and against the pirates (not the party) and cheaper than what is now in use.

If you want to test one there is a certain railways minister in a land not far away that would like a closer look if you know what I mean.
22:30 September 24, 2012 by jg.
@sonriete "What was the need for galileo when there already existed GPS?"

GPS is quite old - Galileo will offer several improvements. for example with multipath (e.g. where reflections of signals from tall buildings cause errors);

GPS is a US military system - all or parts of the system can be disabled without warning. This would preclude the use of satellite navigation in safety critical applications e.g. commercial aviation - unless you have more resilience.
11:05 September 25, 2012 by michael4096

"Surely control of the air space to deploy these as they are I believe detectable on radar."

Don't be deceived. These guys are big only because of range and payload.

There is nothing to stop these guys becoming as small as you want down to insect size. The logic, communication and surveillance can happily be done today by your smartphone and fitting a smartphone to a model aircraft is common among hobbyists - the internet has many plans.

That leaves only range and payload...
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