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Flying controversy Alternative to the Gripen: new drones from Israel?

After a public vote ruling out buying Gripen fighter jets, the Swiss parliament will also be looking at new drones. The decision has sparked controversy, as both models being considered are produced by Israel and were tested in the conflict with Palestine. (SRF Rundschau, swissinfo.ch)

The Swiss government is looking to renew its fleet of drones and deciding which models to acquire. The “Hermes 900” and "Heron 1" are the two under scrutiny, both produced by Israeli companies. Switzerland may buy six such drones for a total price of CHF250 million.

Switzerland needs surveillance drones, not armed drones, to support the army with intelligence gathering. They are also being used for policing, border patrols, and assessment in case of disasters.

Critical voices have risen against the planned purchase as the drones under consideration have been deployed and tested by Israel against Palestine in real combat situations in conjunction with other weapon systems.

Opponents of the purchase are also worried that the amount and detail of information that the new models can potentially collect could result in a surveillance state.

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