The Budget Committee in the German Parliament has decided to postpone a huge deal- worth more than a billion euros- to lease Israeli-made Heron UAVs. Though the German Defense Ministry has asked to proceed with the deal with Israel Aerospace Industries, the committee pushed off the decision due to “reservations.”
Unmanned aerial vehicle manufactured by IAI | Archive Photo Credit: Israel Aerospace Industries/ Channel 2 News
The German Parliament’s Budget Committee has postponed a deal worth over a billion euros to lease unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel on Wednesday, German sources told Reuters. The committee did approve the purchase of 11 billion euros worth of equipment for the German army, however.
The German Defense Ministry warned against delaying the deal, arguing that it is a vital component in modernizing and advancing Germany’s military capacity which suffered from obsolescence due to budget cuts. Christine Lambrecht, a legislator from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), said that the Budget Committee was delaying the decision on the entire funding package because her party needed more time to consult on the issue.
The Defense Ministry has said that they prefer the Israeli UAV models because they complement the models already in use in the German military. In spite of the ministry’s insistence, the SPD expressed reservations about leasing the Heron UAV models, which are manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries. The Heron UAV’s are capable of target acquisition and artillery adjustment and can be used to protect German soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Mali.
Last month, the Supreme Court in Dusseldorf rejected a claim made by an American arms manufacturer-considered a competitor of Israel Aerospace Industries- against Germany. The court instructed to freeze the deal with the manufacturer while it was still hearing the appeal. As a result, the SPD members decided to postpone the deal with IAI until the court reaches a final decision.