The German government agrees on the purchase of drones

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Germany’s coalition government has agreed to purchase missiles for Germany’s fleet of Heron-TP unmanned aerial vehicles, ahead of a meeting of the German parliament’s military budget committee.

the Suddeutsche Zeitung reports that the parties that make up the German government have agreed to budget 152 million euros for the purchase of 140 missiles for the Heron-TP. 60 missiles are intended for training, with the remaining 80 to be used in operational deployments. Karsten Klein, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Budget Committee, told the Suddeutsche Zeitung that the government was aware of its “responsibility to our soldiers”, which prompted the decision to go ahead with the procurement.

However, a draft budget resolution considered by the Suddeutsche Zeitung would impose significant legal requirements for the operational use of armed drones alongside the approval of the purchase of ammunition, their use during deployment having to be “explicitly” approved by parliament. Their use will be subject to the “limits of international and constitutional law as well as the limits imposed by the German Bundestag through the mandate of the mission, the area of ​​operation and the capabilities to be deployed”, with the guiding principle of “protection of soldiers”. . Additionally, drone operators must be stationed in the drone operations area. The resolution also asks Berlin to draft “binding operational principles” for the use of armed drones, which must be approved by the defense and foreign affairs committees.

The current German government had included approving the arming of German unmanned aerial vehicles as part of its coalition agreement. While the previous German government had approved the acquisition of the Heron-TP fleet, it was unable to proceed with their arming, as the support of Social Democratic Party lawmakers did not materialize due to concerns about the use of armed drones. As a result, the use of German drones remained strictly limited to the reconnaissance role, despite pressure from the Bundeswehr to approve the use of armed drones to better defend deployed German troops.

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