DRONES Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

Conwy County Peace Group report given at our meeting on 27th February 2014.

Of a meeting held in Llandudno on 15th February 2014.

 

'Military Drones - Remote killing in Poor Countries'

David Hookes MSc, PhD

Committee member - Scientists for Global Responsibility

 

The title of talk was chosen because, being expensive Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are a weapon of rich countries which have been used mostly against poor peoples - Afghans, Palestinians, Somalis and Yemenis - remotely controlled from thousands of miles away in US, UK and Israel.

There are several types, and they number now more than 10,000.  The armed drones, such as the 'Reaper', for example, have a flight endurance of 36 hours, range 3,682 miles, altitude 50,000 feet and carries four 'hellfire' missiles and two 500lb laser guided bombs.

Israel  is a major developer and Elbit system' sales - point is that they are a war tested weapon (on Gaza).  Testing of drones in the UK is by Elbit in consortium with French firm Thales with UK government support and  is performed in Wales near Aberporth.  BAE Systems, the second largest armaments manufacturer in the world, is developing at least three models - 'Herti', 'Mantis' and 'Taranis', the latest, which is a supersonic, stealth technology, autonomous Drone - (it is 'self-controlling' without the need for human intervention ! ).

The legal aspect of their use was considered - outside declared war and armed conflict the use of armed drones for targeted killing (as has been occurring in the countries mentioned) is a breach of humanitarian law - it is summary execution -  the imposition of a death penalty without charge, trial or conviction.  It is reliably estimated that over 5,000 people, mostly civilians have been killed and wounded in drone attacks in Afghanistan / Pakistan alone.

The remote killing of human beings by a  'War - Games' operator thousands of miles away, leads one to question the morality of the situation.

In practice it has resulted in attracting more applicants to the terrorist organisations' cause.

"All the signs are that military, technological, industrial and political interests are converging to fuel a space-age arms race that will steer 21st century history towards greater violence and fear and away from constructive, human centred responses to the world's conflicts "

Donald Saunders

Chairman

Conwy County Peace Group (CCPG)

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