The German military gained approval from the Bundestag’s budget committee for a deal worth $1bn covering the lease of Israeli-built Heron-TP surveillance drones. It consists of two separate contracts – one with Airbus, which will manage the drone program, and one with the Israeli government to cover training, infrastructure and logistics for the planes at bases in Israel. Whether or not the drones will be armed for offensive operations is still to be decided at a plenary session of the German parliament. The leasing program is intended as a temporary solution until a European drone is ready for use around 2025. Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, chief of staff of the German air force, said the deal would allow significantly better protection of German troops. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who visited Berlin this month, praised the German parliament for its decision and commended the security ties unfolding between Germany and Israel.