Drone proliferation – a useful but disturbing overview

A decade ago, the United States had a virtual monopoly on drones. To date only the United States, United Kingdom and Israel are known to have launched drone strikes against their adversaries. However, a few days ago a CNN online article summarised data compiled by the New America Foundation:

More than 70 countries now own some type of drone, though only a small number of those nations are known to possess armed drone aircraft.

  • In August 2010, Iran unveiled what it claimed was its first armed drone. And on Tuesday, the country’s military chief, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, disclosed details of a new long-range drone that he said can fly 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles), which puts Tel Aviv easily in range.
  • Are their drones in Lebanon? CNN reported that Israeli security experts believe that Hezbollah, the Shiite militia based in southern Lebanon, launched the drone they shot down early in October.
  • An official in Turkey’s Defense Ministry said in July that Turkey planned to arm its own domestically produced drone, the Anka.
  • Members of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, such as Australia, have used “borrowed” drones from Israel, the world’s largest exporter of drones and drone technology.
  • In March, the U.S. government agreed to arm Italy’s six Reaper drones.
  • Nigeria, Russia, Mexico and other countries have bought drones from the state-owned Israeli Aerospace Industries.

In this new arms race many hundreds of drone development programmes are said to be under way

The most well-publicised is the joint project of Sweden, Greece, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and France which is in the final stages of development – an advanced armed drone prototype. France, which at present is believed to have no armed drones, plans to acquire these new armed drones for its air force.

Next: legal challenges, in UK and at the UN, to the drone killing of civilians.

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This entry was posted in CIA, Civilian deaths, Drone strikes, Drones proliferate, Legal action and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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