FRANKFURT/BERLIN May 27 European aerospace and
defence group EADS and partner Northrop Grumman
say they will continue to work with the German government on a
drone project that Berlin cancelled earlier this month.
Germany scrapped the plans to purchase and modify Euro Hawk
reconnaissance drones because of the cost of meeting standards
required to win aviation approval.
A resulting row over whether taxpayers' money has been
squandered has dominated German media and also threatens to
tarnish the reputation of Thomas de Maiziere, defence minister
and one of Chancellor Angela Merkel's most trusted cabinet
members, just four months before an election.
The makers said in a joint statement on Monday that they
would continue to work with the customer to address any
"The team will provide an affordable and achievable plan to
complete flight testing of the initial asset and the eventual
production and fielding of the full system of four additional
aircraft," they said.
They described reports of problems with the aircraft's
flight control system and excessive costs of completing the
airworthiness certification as "inaccurate".
Internal government documents put the additional costs of
getting the airworthiness approval at around 500 million-600
million euros ($647-$776 million), without any guarantee that
approval would be achieved.
The defence ministry declined to comment on the statement
from EADS and Northrop Grumman.
German armed forces already have one prototype Euro Hawk and
were considering whether to buy an additional four drones.
Germany had earmarked 1.2 billion euros for the purchase and
development of the aircraft.