The German Ministry of Defense is looking to reviving a multi-billion dollar deal for leasing Israel-built unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), after the Budget Committee in the German Parliament decided to postpone the acquisition in June 2017.
The ministry is soon expected to request for a 1-billion-euro ($1.11 billion) funding package for the military, including a deal to lease five Heron-PT UAVs made by Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI).
The contract “is likely to be signed in the coming weeks,” German parliament member Fritz Felgentreu, responsible for defense affairs in the German Social Democratic Party, told Globes.
The sources in Berlin told Defense News that the German Ministry of Defense's request for approval of the UAV deal could be approved soon. Government sources who favor the deal are stressing the argument that Germany's friendship with Israel should guide the decision-making process, and this consideration carries weight in the Bundestag.
Under the program, the UAVs will be stationed in Israel under the management of the military wing of Airbus, at least in the first stage. The UAVs are initially designated for intelligence missions, such as aerial photography and surveillance of enemy forces. At a later stage, they are also likely to be used to attack ground targets, including targeted killings.
The UAVs are due to become available to the German army starting at the end of 2019.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has patented a new capability for its Heron UAVs under which it can automatically land in runways located thousands of kilometers away, serviced and fueled before it takes off for an additional mission. Based on satellite communication, combined with precise automated taxiing, takeoff and landing, the innovative capability, constitutes a major breakthrough in the remote operation concept, an IAI statement said
India is expected to sign agreements to purchase Spike anti-tank missiles and Heron TP combat drones during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modis visit to Israel on Tuesday. The Heron-TP armed drones form part of $400 million deal cleared by the Indian defense ministry in 2015
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The German Parliament, Bundestag, is likely to approve leasing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Israel in a €1 billion (US $1.1 billion) deal amidst opposition from the German Social Democratic Party (SDP)
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