The German government has decided to arm the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that it leases from Israel with missiles manufactured in Israel, the German media reports. The UAVs will be armed with precision guided missiles with advanced destruction capabilities in the event that there is suspected harm to innocent people. Arming the UAVs will cost an estimated €152 million.
The decision ends discussions over four years on whether to arm the UAVs or not. The Social Democratic party had in the past torpedoed the UAV deal between Israel and Germany, even just the leasing of Eitan UAVs from Israel Aerospace Industries together with professional training. The use of the UAVs and certainly arming them was considered controversial for moral reasons because innocent people could be harmed.
Ultimately, a compromise was reached whereby the UAVs were leased from Israel but the issue of arming them was left for parliament to decide. The value of the deal without the UAVs being armed but including professional training at Tel Nof air base in Israel was worth close to €1 billion. The fee for the UAVs went to IAI and for the professional training to the Israeli government. But for years the debate on the arming of the UAVs was put on hold due to opposition from the Social Democratic Party.
But now following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the hesitation about arming the UAVs has been overcome. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently told "Globes" that "Nobody in Germany today has a problem with buying arms from Israel."
According to reports Germany will procure 140 missiles including 80 for training and 60 for operations. Germany also has plans to procure the Iron Dome short range missile defense system and would like to be the first overseas customer to buy the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system for long range threats.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 6, 2022.
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