Germany bites the bullet and arms Heron TPs
The defence committee of the German parliament (Bundestag) on 6 April approved a request by the German government to spend €152.6 million on 140 missiles to arm five Heron TP MALE UAVs leased from Airbus, in another indication of how attitudes to defence spending have shifted after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The investment includes training and maintenance. Sixty of the missiles will be used for training purposes.
No further details were available on the type of missiles to be acquired.
Maj Gen Wolfgang Ohl, the head of the German Air Force, reacted by stating: ‘We're finally getting this important capability to protect our soldiers in the best possible way. It's now vital to start training so we'll be operationally ready if needed and if mandated by the Bundestag.’
Arming the five UAVs has been a highly sensitive political topic in Germany ever since the MoD took the original decision in 2016 to lease the Heron TPs.
Indeed, the leasing agreement, signed in June 2018, restricted German use of the Israel Aerospace Industries-made Heron TP to unarmed reconnaissance missions.
Bloomberg reported on 6 April that the missiles can only be used with explicit parliamentary approval.
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