Why is Germany leasing armed drones?

The German military is about to achieve its long-held wish to acquire its first weaponized drones – and is on the verge of persuading Angela Merkel’s administration to pay for them.

Leaks to the Süddeutsche Zeitung in late May showed that the Bundeswehr requested some €900 million ($1.04 billion) to lease five Heron TP drones from Israel over the next nine years – a significant upgrade on the Heron 1 surveillance and reconnaissance drones it currently leases.

The weapons the drones will carry are not part of the deal, and will be chosen once “comprehensive international legal, constitutional, and ethical assessments” have been made, the government coalition contract stipulates.

Read more: Germany draws up €450 million military wish-list

What are Heron TPs?

The Heron TP is the latest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the Heron drone series made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a company wholly owned by the Israeli government.

It belongs to the Medium Altitude Long Endurance

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