Germany did not need to cancel the Euro Hawk reconnaissance drone project because it could have continued flying with preliminary aviation approval, a senior source at the European aerospace group EADS told Reuters on Tuesday.
Germany earlier this month scrapped plans to purchase the Euro Hawk drones, made by EADS and Northrop Grumman, because of the cost of meeting standards required to win aviation approval.
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Its armed forces have one prototype Euro Hawk and were considering whether to purchase an additional four drones.
The source said EADS could not understand how the ministry came to estimate that meeting the standards required to win aviation approval would cost 500-600 million euros.
EADS did not expect any problems getting aviation approval for its Global Hawk drones for NATO, the source added.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Stephen Brown)