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Germany buys 140 Israeli-made armed drones

An Israeli military drone on 8 June 2018 [JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images]
An Israeli military drone on 8 June 2018 [JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images]

Germany is purchasing 140 armed drones from Israel in a contract worth $165 million, following years of debate, parliamentary sources told AFP on Wednesday.

The drones are expected to be delivered within two years, with 60 of them to be used for training purposes, while the remaining 80 will be used for "operational deployment."

The decision to buy Israeli-made Heron-TP drones is part of a wider shift in Berlin's defence policy, triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

According to The Times of Israel, the Defence Ministry said in a position paper put to the parliamentary committee, "The security situation in Europe has essentially changed with the attack of Russia on Ukraine."

"In order to counter the new threat, the Bundeswehr's equipment must be upgraded without delay, including, in particular, the arming of the Heron drones. The need is absolutely necessary because serious State interests of a political nature would be otherwise compromised and this is not acceptable."

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Despite opposing Israeli arms in 2018 when Germany had initially decided to acquire Heron TP drones, resulting in the acquisition being ultimately denied, Chancellor Olaf Scholz is turning to Israel and considering, in particular, the acquisition of an Israeli missile protection system, of the "Iron Dome" type.

Three days following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, he announced that he wants to release $109 billion to modernise Germany's national army, and to spend at least 2 per cent of the national GDP each year on defence.

Since then, frantic negotiations have been ongoing to close huge defence deals, including a purchase of up to 35 F-35 fighter jets from the United States and 15 Eurofighter jets from a consortium that includes Airbus.

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Europe & RussiaGermanyIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineRussiaUkraine
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