German magazine Der Spiege Reports: Israel’s Heron TP has attack capabilities & is considered by Germany to be more cutting-edge than the U.S.-made Predator.
Germany’s air force chief was in Israel recently to attend a presentation on the Heron UAV.
By Eli Leon, Lilach Shoval, News Agencies & Israel Hayom Staff
Germany is examining the procurement of the Heron TP unmanned aerial vehicle manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, which has attack capabilities and is more technologically advanced than the American UAVs it currently uses, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel.
Israel’s Heron TP UAV. – Photot: Israel Aerospace Industries
According to the report, the German defense ministry has already held two meetings with Israel on the matter, and Lt. Gen. Karl Muellner, chief of staff of the German Air Force, visited Israel recently to attend a presentation on the Heron TP.
Israeli officials with knowledge of the talks told Israel Hayom that Germany was indeed interested in procuring the Israeli drone. Meanwhile, Germany was also looking into the American-made Predator drone, but according to Der Spiegel, Berlin was believed to favor the Heron over the Predator because it was seen as more cutting-edge.
The Heron, named “Eitan” by the IDF, is the largest UAV manufactured in Israel, with a wingspan similar to that of a Boeing 737 aircraft.
In February, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière said that his country would work with France to develop a new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles.
“We have a gap in our capabilities that we would like to close,” he said at the time.
Germany already has unarmed drones, including the Israeli-built Heron 1 model, which it uses for reconnaissance purposes in places such as Afghanistan. German officials in February mentioned that Germany might consider purchasing the armed version of the Heron 1 for use after 2014, to bridge the gap until 2020 when a system being developed with France becomes available.
Opposition lawmakers in Germany have warned that the country could end up sending armed drones into conflicts abroad even when there are political reservations about deploying troops.
Over the past 20 years, Germany has steadily abandoned its post-war reticence about foreign military missions. But the constitution requires parliamentary approval before sending troops abroad and each proposed mission prompts heated debate in the country deemed responsible for two world wars in the last century.
U.N. human rights experts also have criticized the use of armed drones because they are controlled by operators who are often thousands of miles away from the targets they attack.
Pakistan has been particularly critical of the use of armed drones by the U.S., which along with Britain and Israel is among the countries with the most sophisticated drone programs.
View original Israel Today publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=8613