Euro Hawk drone committee questions defense minister | News | DW | 05.06.2013
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Euro Hawk drone committee questions defense minister

German Defense Minister de Maiziere is facing questions from a parliamentary committee about why a doomed-to-fail drone program was not abandoned earlier. De Maiziere stopped the Euro Hawk program a few weeks ago.

FILE - The drone 'Euro Hawk' stands on the airfield of the reconnaissance squadron 51 'Immelmann' in Jagel, Germany, 8 July 2010. EPA/ANGELIKA WARMUTH (zu dpa-Korr: ««Euro Hawk»-Flop: Keiner will es gewesen sein» vom 15.05.2013) +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Euro Hawk Drohne

Appearing in front of a parliamentary committee in Berlin on Wednesday, Thomas de Meiziere is being asked to explain why development of a German drone – called a Euro Hawk – was not halted much earlier when it became clear such a device would not get clearance from aviation authorities.

The project – which has been scrapped – had cost 660 million euros ($860 million) before the plug was pulled on May 14. De Maiziere will also face questions from a budget committee on Wednesday.

Concerns that the Euro Hawk would not be approved by aviation authorities because it didn't have an anti-collision system caused the drone project to be abandoned. It was determined that adding such a system to the drones would have been cost prohibitive.

De Maiziere faces criticism for not coming to this conclusion about the expensive, tax-payer funded project sooner, and is seen to be fighting for his job at Wednesday's parliamentary inquiry.

Despite the drone debacle, de Maiziere said on Tuesday at a NATO meeting in Brussels that Germany would stick to its commitment to a NATO drone program that would see the alliance acquire five high-altitude unmanned Global Hawks as part of its Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS).

The Euro Hawk is modelled after the Global Hawk intelligence-gathering drone, which is made in the US.

mz/kms (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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