Open Drones



Military Technolognies

"Imagine if nobody showed up and there still is a war."


Soldiers and workers in insect colonies are called "Drones":

- collective consciousness (ants)

- the individual drone is pretty dumb, operating unit

- their only life-task is serving the swarm


drones definition



The military uses the word "drones" for any kinds of robots - unmanned flying, swimming or driving vehicles.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles / Systems (= UAV / UAS)

- aerial use has most capabilities (can be used anywhere)

- very high research interest, very sophisticated robots already


Why are they so great for war?

- post-heroic society (Edward Luttwak, military strategist)

- minimal loss and maximum effect...

- stealth, avoiding public debate

- war, that isn't perceived as war (cyberwar, "light footprint")


war drones



- 14m wings, 3.000kg

- similar military drones are Reaper, Gloal Hawk/Euro Hawk

- first drone strike in Jemen 2002, US against Al Quaida

- 1/3 of all Predator drones crashed! (reverse engineering possible, Iran)


Aeryon Scout:

- production since 2009

- 80cm, 1.5kg

- surveillance, controlled with a tablet-pc based interface

- used by BP, Canadian police, Saudi Arabian Army, Lybian National Liberation Army


Black Hornet Nano:

- 10cm small, 16g

- surveillance/spy drone, can fly for 20min, GPS

- used by British Army, US Military



UAV/UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) =

- vehicle

- data connection

(- satelite)

- control station

- operators (1 year training period, very cheap)

(- totally autonomous drones don't exist yet)


drones pay bills



- USA: about 8.000 UAS (100 armed) + 12.000 systems with ground vehicles

- in 10 years 1/3 of the Airforce will be drones

- 37 Billion US$ spent on drone technology during the last decade

- since 9/11 president is authorized to use military forces against terrorists (authorization for use of military force)


- 87 states have drones

- only 3 states use armed drones - US, GB and Israel

- in every moment there are always 58 Predator drones flying somewhere in the world (official statement, 2011)

- 2010 the official number was 40, so you get an idea...



drone survival guide



Areas of U.S. drone operations:

- Afghanistan (war)

- Pakistan, Jemen, Somalia (no war)

drone strikes in Pakistan 2004-2013


death rate of civilians (U.S. military study, official): "drones kill 10 times more civilians than manned aircrafts"

And: Not the military is responsible for these drone strikes.

Joint Special Operation Command (JSOC) & CIA (global, all strikes are secret) are conducting them.


The "maximum effect" looks like this:

drones obama children


There are 2 different kinds of drone strikes:


1. Personality Strikes/Targeted Killing

- Kill Lists (renamed as "Disposition Matrix") collecting top-terrorists

- but >98% of the attacks are not against highly ranked members of terrorist organisations

- local informers mark people, houses or cars with chips, which the drones follow as targets

- no control or verification (people used it in clan conflicts or neighbourhood disputes)


2. Signature Strikes

-since 2008 in Pakistan and Jemen

- attacks based on behaviour detection, people are killed if they behave "abnormally"

- 2/3 of all drone strikes are Signature Strikes

- Obama is only being informed after the attack

- "Clash of Cultures": abnormal behaviour can not be measured by western standards

(recommended movie: "Living under Drones" brave new films)


drone war crime


International Law:

- armed conflict (=war) vs. unarmed conflict

- international conflicts or internal / domestic conflicts

- if there is war, martial law applies

- if there is no war, drone strikes are forbidden

--> most of the U.S. drone strikes are illegal according to international law!


Consequences for the people in the affected countries:

- permanent fear

- drones often fly 24/7 over the areas

- loss of trust in social contacts (informants)

- "de-urbanization": people leave cities and live solitary

- (post-)traumatic stress, heavy mental disorders (especially children)

- UN estimates 150.000 expellees/refugees in Jemen

- increasement of asymmetry of the "warfare"

- "Double Tapping" = shoot target again after first strike (random time gap between 30min and 2h)

--> aid agencies have a moratorium of 6 hours until they can help (to protect doctors and volunteers)



- miniaturization (micro/nano drones, stealthy)

- automation (most important research field, explained below)

- swarm scripting (part of automation, "drone ballet" ETH Z├╝rich)

- nuclear propulsion (like submarines, more effective than batteries, but big problems if they crash)


nano drone insect hoax

3 Levels of Automation:

Man in the Loop = operated by remote control

Man on the Lob - automated (starts manually, human can intervene)

Man out of the Loop = autonomous (systems their own decisions)

Goals of Research:

- the whole circle of "detect-analyze-eliminate" should be automated

- drones only based on own sensors, without external data (like GPS)


(book recommendation: Daniel Suarez - Kill Decision (novel))


- "Visual Overload" surveillance data has to be analyzed automatically (Wide Area Airborne Surveillance (WAAS) (!))

- electronic warfare

- radio signals can be hacked ("Skygrabber"26$ software: 2009, Iraque hackers read signals and know the strategy)

- delay caused by far distances

- possibilty of anonymous warfare (accuse others of attacks, "Plausible Deniability")


obama drones



Some Facts:

- drone X47B operation radius = 3900km (double with air-to-air-refuelling)

(drones often start from aircraft carriers)

- laser targeting, 3m precise

- 25m radius total demolition ("maximum effect")

- "Double Tapping"

- sensor system is the most important part of a drone:

video cameras(WAAS), infrared, ultrasonic sound, (+directional microphones)

- can detect humans from a distance of 10km

- lightweight, cheaper than manned aircrafts, can stay in the air for longer amount of time

- track/observe "target" (=person) for days

- can fly higher, resist stronger forces than manned vehicles

- cheap operator staff, minimal compunction due to abstraction of killing (like a video game)

(lower inhibition treshold if pilot is not endangered, killing "dogs on 2 legs")

- "Drone Porn" videos are fucking popular on the internet (uploads by Department of Defense)


+ military technology is top secret, what we can know is only 10% of the possibilities and what really happens




Risks of Automation:

- re-centralization of power - a lot of power controlled by only few people

- abnormal behaviour detection does not work (what is terrorist behaviour?)

- software has bugs (learning software, "electronic conscience")

- no verification possible

- anonymous warfare

- hight-tech countries are easy targets (Big Data)



- US airbase, drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jemen, Somalia

- "UAS SATCOM Relay Pads and Facility"

- according to international law, attacks against Ramstein wouldn't be illegal

- the only reason why they don't fight back is the asymmetric situation



- 2017 (NATO-contract "AGS" (Alliance Ground Surveillance))

- AGS system acquired by 15 Allies

(Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States)

- 5 Global Hawk based in Italy to fly kill strikes (main operating base of AGS)


Military Challenges:

- international conflicts

- fight for ressources

- climate change

- urbanization (protest?)

(= Preventionism)


great Blog on drones (CCC):