German minister backs weapons-capable drones

Germany`s defense minister wants to buy weapons-capable drones to protect soldiers from attack, drawing criticism in a country where the US use of drones to kill terror suspects has caused unease.

AP Last Updated: Jul 02, 2014, 22:11 PM IST

Berlin: Germany`s defense minister wants to buy weapons-capable drones to protect soldiers from attack, drawing criticism in a country where the US use of drones to kill terror suspects has caused unease.

Ursula von der Leyen told lawmakers today that the German military has had positive experiences with a leased surveillance drone in Afghanistan. She said the unarmed drone could quickly spot an attack, but it would take "valuable minutes that could cost soldiers` lives" to call in support from a helicopter or jet.
Von der Leyen argued that a weapons-capable European drone should be developed over the coming years.

Opposition Left Party lawmaker Christine Buchholz said armed drones weren`t invented to protect soldiers and told the minister: "The majority of the population doesn`t want these weapons systems."