Canada and NATO potential buyers of an abandoned German drone project

German Ministry of Defence received a bid on Wednesday from Canadian authorities to purchase a surveillance drone. The drone has been out of service, parked into a German airbase, upon annulment of the Euro Hawk programme in 2013.

Canada made a formal offer for the drone on Wednesday, even though the drone has been partly decommissioned upon its retirement. Some parts of the drone related to radio systems were demilitarised by U.S. Air Force officials in 2017. The drone was a prototype model built by the U.S. aerospace and defence company Northrop Grumman. 

Canada seeks to utilise the drone to surveil oil spill accidents in the oceans, and monitor ice levels and other benchmarks of the marine habitats located in the Arctic region. For its part NATO, has also expressed interest in acquiring the particular drone even though a formal bid has not been made yet. NATO seeks to purchase the drone to strengthen its fleet of five unmanned Global Hawk aircrafts which were acquired by the U.S. contractor in 2012 for $1.7 billion.

The Euro Hawk initiative was one of the largest failures in the European airspace. The father of the programme, the German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere lost his position after press leakages revealed that more than €700 million were expended for the construction of the prototype drone. Nonetheless, the drone never flew European airspace given that it did not possess collision-avoidance systems. The programme was originally envisaged to reach €1.2 billion for the construction of a five drone fleet but only a prototype was made. Berlin has now engaged into a fresh round of negotiations with the U.S. contractor to construct a new fleet of MQ-4C Triton drones by 2025.

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