World Bulletin / News Desk
German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday came out in favour of equipping the German military with armed drones. The debate over the controversial weapons has divided the ruling coalition government.
On Wednesday in the parliament, von der Leyen told the Süddeutsche Zeitung: “I am convinced that we should develop a European armed drone. We’re looking for partners for the project which will take at least a decade.
However, parliamentary leader of the far-left party Die Linke, Gregor Gysi, reacted to the comments by calling for a “broad resistance” against armed drones.
On Wednesday afternoon, von der Leyen was accused of “contempt of Parliament” for telling the newspaper about her plans prior to addressing politicians by economist Tobias Lindner of the Green Party.
The German military has long called for combat drones, arguing it will protect the lives of their soldiers.
However, the Social Democrats (SPD), who are in a coalition government with von der Leyen’s party, are sceptical.
The defence minister said Germany would initially hire armed drones for specific operations abroad.
The military would get around the legal barrier which had previously scuppered plans to use Euro Hawk armed drones by leasing the drones rather than buying them. Therefore they wouldn’t need approval in German airspace.
However, von der Leyen wants Germany to have its own combat drones in the medium and longer term.
Dassault Aviation and Alenia Aermacchi in May launched a lobbying drive for a European combat drone, leading European aerospace firms Airbus.
"Europe’s industry is ready to develop a next generation advanced European Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)," they said in a joint press release.Last Mod: 02 Temmuz 2014, 17:40