Why are EMTs not armed

International security

Ulrike Esther Franke

To person

M.A., born 1987; until 2013 research assistant at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London; PhD student in International Relations at Oxford University, Holywell Street, OX1 3BN Oxford / UK. [email protected]

In May 2013 the Federal Ministry of Defense announced that "the ripcord" would be pulled when purchasing the unmanned surveillance aircraft Euro Hawk. The Bundeswehr will not, as originally planned, receive five of the unmanned aerial vehicles that can be used to monitor areas over a large area. The approval process for integrating the Euro Hawks into civil aviation has proven to be too expensive and too time-consuming. The problems surrounding the Euro Hawk have reignited the drone debate in Germany. The Minister of Defense had already spoken out in favor of buying armed drones in mid-2012. The decision on this has now been postponed to the next legislative period - also due to controversial public debates.

The acquisition of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for military purposes is not only discussed in Germany. Around 70 countries already have the technology, and many others are investing in research projects or planning to buy unmanned systems. There seems to be no doubt that the future of warfare will be influenced, if not dominated, by UAVs. [1] But how should the proliferation of drones be a cause for concern? What influence does the increasing use of UAVs have on international security?

UAVs are unmanned aircraft that are guided from the ground or whose flight route is programmed before the flight begins. They are usually reusable - a characteristic that distinguishes UAVs from cruise missiles or ballistic missiles. Even if the term "drone" actually describes a special subgroup of unmanned aircraft, it is usually used today as a synonym for UAV. There are currently hundreds of different military drone models available in a wide variety of sizes and designs. The spectrum ranges from the Black Hornet, which is only 12 cm long and is used by the British Army in Afghanistan for surveillance missions, to the Global Hawk of the US Northrop Grumman Group, which has a wingspan of almost 40 meters and takes up to 30 hours can stay in the air. Even if the media's particular interest in armed drones might give the opposite impression, only a few UAV models are currently armed. [2] The American Reaper drone is currently the most advanced system, it can be equipped with up to 14 Hellfire missiles or a combination of missiles and laser-guided bombs. Other weapons-grade UAVs usually carry fewer weapons.

The idea of ​​using unmanned balloons or airplanes for reconnaissance purposes is older than the idea of ​​manned aviation. The first modern surveillance drones were developed in the 1950s. They were based on projectiles that were used for air defense training. Such drones were used for US surveillance missions during the Vietnam War. [3] For a long time, however, the uses of these aircraft were limited. Only the technological developments since the 1980s - such as better and lighter camera technology, expansion of the global navigation satellite system (GPS), faster and improved data connection, processing and storage - made the development of today's UAV possible.

A decisive moment was the use of drones by the Israeli armed forces in the first Lebanon war in 1982. Israel was a pioneer in the use of UAVs for a long time and founded its own UAV squadron as early as 1971. In 1982, the Israeli military finally used drones as bait - they were sent out to provoke anti-aircraft missile fire. Their launchers could then be destroyed with the help of rockets. Israeli drones were also used for reconnaissance purposes. The successful use of UAV sparked interest in the technology in the United States and heralded the era of the modern UAV.

In the 1999 Kosovo war, unmanned aircraft finally played an unprecedented role. The USA, Germany, France and Great Britain use drones for reconnaissance missions; they were particularly needed in situations where poor visibility and Serbian anti-missiles made manned missions too dangerous. [4] The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent "war on terror" gave the technology an additional boost: 2001 air-to-ground missiles were fired for the first time by a Predator drone; In 2002, the first person died from an armed UAV.

Worldwide proliferation

Over the past decade there has been a rapid proliferation of UAV technology. In 2000, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), only 17 countries had unmanned aircraft. [5] No Latin American and only one African country, South Africa, used drones. In 2008, the number of UAV users had risen to 38, and drones were now found on every continent. Today between 55 and 78 countries use UAVs for military purposes. The increase in the number of UAVs is even more spectacular: the US armed forces alone now use over 7,000 UAVs. The Bundeswehr also has several hundred at its disposal, many of which are deployed in Afghanistan. With this in mind, it is not surprising that the unmanned sector has been the most dynamic growth segment in the aviation industry over the past decade. A study by the Teal Group Corporation, a military research and consultancy firm, found that the global market for military and civilian UAVs will more than double by the end of the next decade. [6]

There is no reliable data on which countries use UAVs. Many states do not publish information about their military equipment, while others boast information about high-tech equipment that cannot be unequivocally verified. According to freely accessible information that was collected in the course of several months of research, including at the IISS, there are currently 55 countries that have military UAVs; [7] 23 other countries are likely to also have UAVs or will have them in the immediate future .[8th] However, there are major differences in terms of the scope and technical development of the UAV equipment. Some states have only small contingents of drones; Countries like Uganda and Burundi, for example, have few hand-held tactical drones. Also, so far only three states hold armed drones: Israel, Great Britain and the USA. Two others - China and Iran - are likely to have operational armed UAVs.

The US armed forces are the most important UAV users worldwide. The Teal Group Corporation estimates that 65 percent of UAV research and development and 51 percent of UAV acquisition costs will be in the US in the coming years. Israel - a much smaller market in absolute terms - is the world's number two and the most important drone exporter. European countries, above all Great Britain, use various UAV models from their own production or imports from the USA and Israel. In addition, several European countries are discussing the acquisition of armed UAVs: France is trying to get a US model, and Italy wants to equip its previously unarmed Predator and Reaper drones with weapons. France and the UK recently signed an agreement to work together to develop an armed UAV system. According to official information, the Bundeswehr uses five (unarmed) UAV models; four German systems - MIKADO, LUNA, KZO, ALADIN - as well as the Heron I system leased by Israel. Even if Germany does not have any armed drones so far, according to media reports, the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan benefits from the armed UAVs of the US armed forces, which they can request if necessary. German companies also export UAV technology abroad, for example the LUNA drone system manufactured by the Bavarian company EMT Penzberg is used by the Dutch, Norwegian, Pakistani and Saudi armed forces, among others.