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Originally published Friday, February 1, 2013 at 2:32 AM

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Germany aims to acquire armed drones

Germany's defense minister says his country plans to acquire armed drones in order to "close a gap" in its military capabilities.

The Associated Press

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BERLIN —

Germany's defense minister says his country plans to acquire armed drones in order to "close a gap" in its military capabilities.

Thomas de Maiziere said Friday that Germany will work with France to develop a new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Germany already has unarmed drones used for reconnaissance purposes in places such as Afghanistan.

United Nations human rights experts have criticized the use of armed drones because they are controlled by operators who are often thousands of miles away from the target.

The United States, Britain and Israel are among the countries with the most sophisticated drone programs.

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