Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to expand defense against drones | Free press

Berlin (dpa) – Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to equip the Bundeswehr better against enemy drone attacks.

She was referring to the course of the fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh, where the Azerbaijani army turned entire front lines for the first time using unmanned missiles against Armenian soldiers. “I want to put the topic of what the new developments mean for the air defense sector back on the agenda. Are our priorities and planning correct and where should we make adjustments, ”said the CDU politician from the German news agency in Berlin.

In the past, the Bundeswehr had a highly specialized army anti-aircraft defense to combat enemy missiles at close range. The troops, which were decommissioned in 2012 on the basis of austerity programs and a changed threat situation, had weapon systems such as the “Gepard” anti-aircraft gun. The skills must be taken over by the Air Force.

“We saw in Nagorno-Karabakh that a different kind of war is being waged with drones. We see that drones are a means that can pose asymmetric threats, because they are also used by non-governmental groups, terror groups, ”Kramp-Karrenbauer said now. “That’s why we have to check our entire air defenses again.”

She is pushing the dispute over arming the future Heron TP drone – an armaments project that the SPD’s coalition partner has put on hold. The Union is demanding that a decision be taken on armaments during this parliamentary term, as this is necessary for better protection of soldiers when deployed abroad.

Kramp-Karrenbauer now sees Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who is also the SPD candidate for chancellor, on the train. “We stand a chance if the Federal Treasury Secretary approves the $ 25 million bill for arming the drones, which is available. It is ready for approval, ”said the minister. “Then we would have the opportunity to have another discussion in the budget committee and come to a decision. Then we also know where we are. “If there is another opportunity in this parliamentary term,” I will take it, “said Kramp-Karrenbauer.” Otherwise, if the SPD continues to refuse, it will appear in the election manifesto and play a role in coalition negotiations with great clarity. which we will hopefully feed, ”she said.

While continuing to work with NATO partners in Afghanistan, the minister is already looking at the US administration under Joe Biden and the time after US President Donald Trump. “The US legislature has set clear limits on withdrawal plans by approving the defense budget and by overriding the presidential veto,” she said. That affects the American soldiers in Germany, but also Afghanistan.

However, further involvement in Afghanistan depends on how the peace negotiations there progress and what priorities the new US president sets. “What we have agreed in NATO applies. Together in, together out. And that there are conditions that must be met, ”says Kramp-Karrenbauer.

There will be an opportunity to talk to the US and other allies at the next NATO conferences. The Bundestag should also debate whether and how the mandate for a deployment of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan will be continued. “We have always said we stand in solidarity with other partners in NATO,” said the minister. “We are the major framework nation in the North Axis and we will continue to bear this responsibility. But a common solution must be found within NATO. “

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