Photo Gallery Germany Discovers Drones

A document obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE indicates the German government is preparing to procure armed drones for foreign combat. Oopposition politicians are outraged by the development and note that the use of weapons-equipped unmanned aircraft is legally dubious and possibly unethical.
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Germany already uses unmanned drones in conflict, like this one being maintained by a German army technician in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. This particular model is built by Germany's Rehinmetall Defense.

Foto: DPA
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The US has long been using armed drones in combat, such as this MQ-4 Predator, which is photographed on the tarmac of the Balad Air Base, near Baghdad, Iraq.

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So far, Germany has only used drones like this "Heron 1" for reconnaissance missions.

Foto: DPA / Rheinmetall
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Germany leases the Heron, which it uses for reconnaissance, from an Israeli consortium, but the contract is due to expire at the end of 2014. Berlin is currently exploring alternatives.

Foto: DPA / Rheinmetall
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Germany also plans to step up its purchases of unarmed drones. It plans to buy five Euro Hawk machines, pictured here, for reconnaissance.

Foto: Armin Weigel/ dpa
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Smaller drones like this one are used to accompany convoys in foreign combat.

Foto: dpa Picture-Alliance / Peter Steffen/ picture-alliance/ dpa
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These smaller drones can only be used for specific missions to prevent their widespread use.

Foto: A3794 Peter Steffen/ dpa
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Pictured here is the Aladin model, which is a bit heavier and used for reconnaissance in Afghanistan.

Foto: dapd
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Luna is another of the German army's drones.

Foto: dapd
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Luna is also used in Afghanistan, where it can fly up to four hours at a time.

Foto: dapd