• Germany's news in English

Military calls for drones to protect soldiers

DPA/The Local · 3 Jan 2014, 10:37

Published: 03 Jan 2014 10:37 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Armed Forces Association (Bundeswehrverband), commander of Germany’s troops in Afghanistan, and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Armed Forces have all spoken out in support of drones.

Germany’s drone buying programme stalled when the last defence minister, Thomas de Mazière, spent hundreds of millions of euros on Euro Hawk drones that were not allowed to fly in German airspace.

The use of armed drones is highly unpopular in Germany and a draft version of the coalition agreement drawn up between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) rejected “illegal killings” by drones.

But it did not rule out their future use and the Bundeswehrverband has called on the new defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, to come to a decision soon on purchasing drones.

On Thursday, Bundeswehrverband head André Wüstner said: “When soldiers are sent into action, the optimum equipment must be available to them.”

He said drones could be used to protect German troops in Afghanistan from 2015, after the majority of soldiers have withdrawn.

And the head of German troops in Afghanistan, General Major Jörg Vollmer also called for drones to be used saying they were “a means that ensures the best possible protection of our soldiers.”

Parliamentary Commissioner for Armed Forces Hellmut Königshaus said the protective role of unmanned drones should also be given greater weight in the debate about their use.

“We can’t leave our soldiers unprotected,” he said. But he added the ethics of using drones would also be considered.

On a visit to Afghanistan before Christmas, defence minister von der Leyen told troops she would spare no expense in ensuring their protection, but she is yet to come out in support of purchasing armed drones.  

At the moment Germany’s military only has drones for reconnaissance missions and uses the Israeli Heron 1 drone. But that contract only lasts until October 2014 and is expected to be extended for another six months.

Story continues below…

The Ministry of Defence is examining the purchase of larger Israeli and American reconnaissance drones after the Heron 1 contract ends, which could in theory be armed at a later date.

But the SPD has said it would not support purchasing armed drones which could rule out their use for the next four years.

READ MORE: Deutsche Post completes first drone delivery flight

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
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 town, 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.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
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
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
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