Bundestag Rejects Procurement of Armed Drones

(Source: Bundestag; issued Dec. 20, 2019)

AfD and FDP called for the purchase of armed drones for the Bundeswehr. On Friday, December 20, 2019, the Bundestag rejected, by roll vote by 526 votes to 69, with two abstentions, a motion submitted by the FDP parliamentary group entitled "Strengthening the protection of Bundeswehr soldiers by procuring armed drones" (19 / 15675) rejected.

The decision was based on a recommendation by the Defense Committee (19/16149).

A motion by the Left Group, which was also submitted for the debate, entitled "No acquisition, but ostracism of armed drones" (19/16041) was also rejected in a roll call vote by 485 votes to 54 with 59 abstentions.

In addition, lawmakers rejected an AfD Group motion entitled "Procurement of Armed Unmanned Aircraft" (19/13527) with the vast majority of the other political groups, with two abstentions from independent MPs. The decision was based on a recommendation from the Defense Committee (19/14499).

FDP: "Targeted killings" not compatible with the Basic Law

The FDP is calling on the federal government to initiate the procurement or leasing of armed, unmanned aircraft "as soon as possible" within the existing budget. They are intended to complement the Bundeswehr's combat and reconnaissance aircraft. In addition, the development of the Euro drones for reconnaissance and combat missions within the framework of the permanent structured cooperation of the European Union should be "vigorously followed". The testing and procurement of maritime and land-based drone systems should also be promoted.

The Liberals also demand that the legal framework for the technical approval of drones and their approval for European airspace be developed immediately. As part of the mandate of the Bundeswehr's missions abroad, the rules and requirements for the use of drones are to be formulated in full, taking into account the rule of domestic and international law. The basic principle must be that any use of unmanned systems is subject to human control, and that so-called "targeted killings" are not compatible with the Basic Law and are not carried out.

According to the FDP faction, the procurement of armed drones has been delayed for years by the government factions of the CDU / CSU and SPD. This leads to an unacceptable situation; the soldiers would have to forego protection, although it had been available for years.

AfD: Advantages of drones over combat aircraft

The AfD faction bases its demand on the significant military advantages of armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). These offer the possibility of a long loiter time in the operational area and thus a better assessment of the situation before a possible use of weapons. This also serves to avoid collateral damage as much as possible, which is not the case when using combat aircraft, cruise missiles or long-range artillery.

The final decision on the use of weapons also remains with humans in combat drones. The AfD parliamentary group refers to the thesis paper "How will land forces fight in the future", which was developed by the Army command. It is "imperative" to close the capability gap of the armed forces "immediately in the interest of the German soldiers," says the motion.

The procurement of the armed Heron TP drone by means of a leasing contract with Israel, on the other hand, was “not a future-oriented undertaking”, since arming it was not envisioned. Therefore, armament should also be planned for the Euro drone, which is still to be developed.

Left: Don't get armed drones

In its own motion, (19/16041), the Left requests the German government not to implement the armament capability of the Heron TP drone, i.e. not to buy, lease, test or use any armament for the Heron TP. Nor should Germany procure or lease any armed drones. The faction wants to terminate the services contract with Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) for the use of the Heron TP combat drone, and will not use the Heron TP system.

In addition, the development and procurement of the "Euro drone" should be stopped and the money intended for it should be used for civilian purposes.

Finally, the government is urged to advocate internationally to outlaw the development, production, procurement, trading, and use of armed drones, as well as all (partially) autonomous weapon systems. (Aw / HAU / 12.20.2019)


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