Despite small protests outside Germany’s Bundestag, the German parliament approved a €1 billion deal for leasing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). These UAVs are capable of carrying payloads of weapons. For Germany, this is important and carrying out attack missions in the German army’s theaters of operation in Mali and Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said the following concerning the deal:
“I am very pleased by the decision of the German parliament yesterday to approve the giant deal to lease Israeli UAVs. This is an incredible deal that has implications, first of all, for our security industries and for the Israeli economy, but also for the continued strengthening of security relations between Israel and Germany. Germany helps Israel with security, and Israel also helps Germany. This is a very important development and I would like to personally thank Chancellor Merkel. I spoke with her about this ten days ago. She told me that she would pass it through the parliament and she did so.”
Why is this deal important?
Simply put, it cements Israel as the preeminent military drone developer. Not only that, it provides Israel with a huge win in a country that originally saw this deal nearly torpedoed by the German Social Democratic Party (SDP). While Western Europe has increasingly been confrontational with Israel at the UN, its continuous diplomatic antagonism appears empty as countries like Germany realize that only Israel can provide the type of technology it needs.
According to Globes the deal includes: €720 million payment to the Airbus Defense and Space company, which will lease seven UAVs from IAI (five regular UAVs and two for training) and €177 million to the Israeli government for use of airports, command and control facilities, and support and maintenance services.
Essentially Germany will have its first permanent presence in Israel.