Israel and Germany green light billion dollar killer drone deal
German lawmakers approved a $600 million military deal to lease several Heron TP drones manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), part of a deal with Israel estimated at roughly a billion dollars, The Jerusalem Post reports.
IAI confirmed the agreement was signed with Airbus to lease the company’s Heron TP Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) RPASs (remotely piloted air vehicle system) to Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defence pending approval of the German federal budget, which is expected in the second half of 2018.
Under the nine-year deal, Airbus DS Airborne Solutions GmbH will serve as the prime contractor responsible for managing all aspects of the project, including operational support and maintenance throughout the term of the agreement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the German government and parliament for approving the deal, stating that he discussed it with German Chancellor Merkel during his meeting with her in Berlin last week.
"This is a great contribution to the Israeli security industry and to the Israeli economy. The giant deal is an expression of the strategic partnership between Germany and Israel and attests to the potential of Israeli industry to contribute to countries such as Germany,” Netanyahu said.
According to reports in Hebrew media, details of the deal include a payment of approximately €720 million to IAI for the leasing of the drones and another €180 billion to be transferred directly to the government of Israel for the use of airports and other infrastructures that belong to the Air Force.
The drones will serve as a stop-gap measure for the German army before a European-based system is introduced.