De Maizière's Drone Disaster?

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Under pressure because of the hundreds of millions of euros Germany had already spent on the Euro Hawk program he cancelled on 14 May, Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière gave a statement on the subject today. German media reports that air traffic control, industry and the Bundeswehr knew as early as 2004 and no later than 2011 that Euro Hawk could not be certified to fly in civilian airspace.

Photo: Luftwaffe/Northrop Grumman

Asked by a journalist whether he ruled out "personal consequences for what the German media is calling "the drone disaster," de Maizière said he would wait until his ministry presents a report on the procurement and testing of Euro Hawk over the last 10 years to the defense committee of the Bundestag, the German parliament, during its next session on 5 June. The Bundesrechnungshof, the German Federal Court of Auditors, is also investigating.

The German Defense Ministry's report will also investigate the impact of the cancellation of Euro Hawk on NATO's Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program, in which Germany is participating. Members of de Maizière's own Christian Democratic Union party as well as of its junior partner in the German government, the Free Democrats, on 20 May called for Germany to withdraw from AGS.

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