• Germany's news in English

Germany sticks plan to buy armed drones

The Local · 30 May 2013, 08:35

Published: 30 May 2013 08:35 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Thomas de Maiziere has drawn fire for two weeks over the abandoned "Euro Hawk" project, putting pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel's government four months ahead of elections.

The Euro Hawk project had already swallowed €508 million ($657 million) before the Defence Ministry said on May 14 it would "pull the rip-chord" on the plan to buy four more of the unmanned surveillance aircraft.

Germany feared aviation authorities would not certify the Euro Hawk -- a version of US-based Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk re-modelled by Europe's EADS -- because it lacks an anti-collision system.

De Maiziere, a close Merkel ally who has been attacked for failing to act far earlier, is due on June 5 to present a report on what the German media has dubbed the "drone debacle".

Despite the controversy, Berlin is sticking with its objective of buying up to 16 armed drones by 2016, defence ministry spokesman Stefan Paris told a regular press briefing on Wednesday.

Germany has held talks with Israel to buy the Heron TO unmanned aerial vehicle, and with the United States to buy the Reaper, formerly called the Predator, made by General Atomics.

Paris, who was speaking after the cabinet had replied to an opposition information request on the matter, said no final decision would be taken before the September 22 election.

But he reiterated that under a plan from 2011, "the intention is that we acquire 16 such devices in future and that the armed forces have them at their

disposal from 2016, three years from now".

Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the government supports "broad societal debate" on whether Germany should acquire armed drones, to be used in accordance with international law.

Story continues below…

Drones are controversial in Germany, both because of battlefield "collateral damage", or civilian deaths, and because of their spying capabilities, which evoke dark memories from past fascist and communist regimes.

The Defence Ministry spokesman, asked whether he could see combat-ready drones ever being deployed in Germany, for example in anti-terrorism operations, said: "I don't foresee this."


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd