BERLIN - The German military looks eager to get in the drone business.

According to Der Spiegel Germany’s coalition government is planning to rapidly equip the country’s defense forces with armed combat drones, saying they would provide a “credible deterrent” to enemies and thus offer greater security. The government is considering buying the Predator drones used by the U.S. armed forces.

The news that Germany’s federal defense forces are planning to purchase armed combat drones for use in foreign military missions was made against a backdrop of billions in euros in budget cuts faced by the Ministry of Defense.

As reported by Süddeutsche Zeitung, German Minister of Defense Thomas de Maiziere is going to have to run his department on substantially less in 2014.


Photo U.S. Airforce 

So far, Germany has used only unarmed drones. In Afghanistan, it deploys three Israeli-made Heron I surveillance and reconnaissance drones it is leasing through 2014.

Der Spiegel quotes Left politician Andrej Hunko as saying that he “vehemently opposes” the armed drone strategy and is also critical of the purchase of more reconnaissance drones. He even worries that the drones could be deployed by authorities inside Germany.