Authors: Altmann, Jürgen
Suter, Dieter
Title: Small and Very Small Armed Aircraft and Missiles: Trends in Technology and Preventive Arms Control
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: The project ‘Preventive Arms Control for Small and Very Small Armed Aircraft and Missiles’ investigates the properties of ever smaller aircraft and missiles and explores possibilities for preventive arms control. The first part of this project report no. 3 covers the technological trends in both categories. (Further) miniaturisation is supported by civilian developments in mobile devices. Cheap production can allow swarms of very many uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAVs). Armed UAVs down to centimetre sizes and missiles down to 20 or 10 mm diameter are possible, with correspondingly very small destructive payloads. The second part assesses small and very small armed aircraft and missiles under criteria of preventive arms control. Both categories raise problems, mainly for international humanitarian law and military stability. Arms races have to be feared, increasing the threat of proliferation to non-state actors. Options for preventive limitations, confidence building and export control are presented. Recommended are prohibitions of autonomous attack and of swarms of autonomous armed systems, independent of size. If these are unattainable, limits should be established for quality and quantity of swarms; lower limits should be set for the size of armed UAVs and missiles; at a minimum numerical thresholds on the holdings of small and very small UAVs and missiles should be agreed on.
Subject Headings: UAV
Arms Control
Subject Headings (RSWK): Flugkörper
Militärische Rakete
Issue Date: 2023-03-01
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Appears in Collections:Experimentelle Physik III

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