German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Friday that she will continue campaigning for armed drones in the military, despite lawmakers’ disapproval of weaponized drones.
The defense minister wrote on Twitter thanking the German Bundestag for approving the Eurodrone, a project to produce a medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted air system for Germany, Italy, France, and Spain.
She stated her belief that weaponized drones will strengthen Germany’s ability to protect its soldiers in the Bundeswehr.
Danke an den Bundestag für die Zustimmung zur #Eurodrohne. Mit der Eurodrohne werden wir die europäische Handlungsfähigkeit und europäische Technologie stärken. Ich werde mich gleichzeitig weiter für bewaffnete Drohnen zum Schutz unserer Soldatinnen und Soldaten einsetzen. pic.twitter.com/gAjtW5N5UZ
— A. Kramp-Karrenbauer (@akk) April 16, 2021
Weaponless for Now
Approval for the project came after Germany’s ruling coalition partners gave the green light for an unarmed drone system.
Under the project, a total of 63 Eurodrones will be delivered. Germany, as the lead operator, will receive 21 aircraft and 12 ground stations. Italy will purchase 15 drones, and France and Spain expect to receive 12 each.
In December, the German ruling coalition partner Social Democratic Party (SPD) refused to support the army’s request for armed drones. The party argued that “comprehensive international legal, constitutional, and ethical assessments” had to be discussed before arming the drones.
“Together with a large section of the members of the party and other groups in German society involved in promoting peace policies, I do not see in the discussion so far about arming the UAVs any sufficient justification,” SPD leader Norbert Walter-Borjans said.
“There is a thin line between protecting life and killing using a joystick,” he added.