13.5.2020

German Military Considers Using Armed Drones

German Military Considers Using Armed Drones – link
Source: UAS Vision

Article Headlines

  • The German Defense Ministry has started an Expert Hearing that includes several representatives of civil society along with members of parliamentary parties to discuss whether the drones should be purchased
  • The aim, the ministry says, is to trigger a “broad social debate” and lead into a long consultation period
  • The topic of armed drones is a controversial one in German politics, with several politicians rejecting their use on ethical grounds. It is also a possibly divisive issue within Germany’s grand coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc and the leftist Social Democrats (SPD)
  • In December, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had recommended adding drones to the Bundeswehr’s arsenal during a trip to Afghanistan, where Germany has deployed troops in a training and support mission for local security forces
  • Germany’s army should purchase armed drones to protect patrols in conflict areas, the outgoing parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces has said
  • Such drones could act as “rapid close air support” and are perhaps “better in emergencies than waiting for a requested combat helicopter or fighter bomber,” Hans-Peter Bartels told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) in comments published
  • But Bartels said no one in Germany wanted to adopt the “American use of armed drones for targeted killings.”
  • For Nora Müller of the Körber Foundation, who will moderate the discussion and is therefore keen not to voice her opinion on the policy, the delayed discussion — held up by around two months by the coronavirus lockdown is overdue
  • “Crises and conflicts have not been put on ice just because of the coronavirus pandemic” Müller said, adding that Germany has long needed renewed debate on what military and security measures it is willing to use. “And that involves the debate on using armed drones.”

Overview & Comments

  • There are anti-armed UAS resolutions / opinions worldwide and not only in Germany
  • The general notion of UAVs being “armed robots” shooting at their will or the operators being “not actually in the fight” could not be farther from the actual operation method
  • UAS Operators, though physically far from the area of operations, are mentally closer to the scene usually more than other manned ISR / aerial attack assets
  • The mission picture / situational awareness of the events on scene are mostly much clearer to UAS crews as opposed to other assets that are kept further away
  • The ability to directly communicate in real time with the relevant ground, sea & aerial forces eliminates the “disadvantage” of physically sitting in a GCS far away
  • The fact that the crews are not in personal danger actually allow them to take much more thoughtful, careful & calculated decisions
  • Worldwide, UAVs use the same high precise armaments as other aerial strike platforms with a human always making the strike call
  • More so, UAVs are to be fitted with even smaller pin-point munitions, such as the Hatchet, thus reducing even more any collateral damage
  • The political decision in Germany is highly contrary to German crews who operated in theater stating that when they encountered direct threats to German ground forces they did not have the ability to immediately support them, thus relying on other assets that couldn’t always assist in real time
  • See “Germany rejects armed UAS”
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