Israel to 'lease' high-tech aerial drones to Germany

JERUSALEM (AA) – German lawmakers on Wednesday approved a $1-billion deal with Israel for the “lease” of aerial drones built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

“This is a great contribution to Israel’s security industry and the Israeli economy,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement released late Thursday.

The statement describes the arrangement as “an expression of the strategic partnership between Germany and Israel”, which “attests to the potential of Israeli industry to contribute to countries like Germany”.

According to Israeli media reports, Germany will lease the Heron-class drones — for an unspecified amount of time — in return for some $720 million.

Another $180 million will go directly to the Israeli government for use maintaining infrastructure used by the Israeli air Force.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the Heron-class drone is IAI’s most advanced unmanned aerial vehicle, capable of remaining in the air for 40 hours at a time and carrying a maximum payload of some 1,000 kilograms.

Heron-class drones, which can be outfitted with air-to-ground missiles, can be used for both reconnaissance and combat missions, the newspaper reported.

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