Speaking of Drone Technology

by Deborah Pearlstein

While it’s difficult at best to evaluate the truth of Iran’s claims about its weapons development, this latest story struck me as both plausible and relevant to the ongoing debate about international law rules governing targeted drone strikes.

“Iranian military leaders gave details of a new long-range drone and test fired four anti-ship missiles Tuesday in a prelude to upcoming naval war games planned in an apparent response to U.S.-led warship drills in the Persian Gulf. The show of Iranian military readiness and its latest tool – a domestically made drone capable of reaching Israel and most of the Middle East…. On Tuesday, Hajizadeh described the new drone as a key strategic additional to Iran’s military capabilities with the ability to carry out reconnaissance missions or be armed with “bombs and missiles.” Hajizadeh, who heads the Guard’s aerospace division, said the Shahed-129, or Witness-129, has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles). That covers much of the Middle East including Israel and nearly doubles the range of previous drones produced by Iranian technicians, who have often relied on reverse engineering military hardware with the country under Western embargoes.”


2 Responses

  1. Response…
    Some drones are easy to target (slow, etc.).
    Of interest also is a story about a Stanford and NYU Law School study re lack of proportionality re: drone targetings in Pakistan.  One problem with the study might be that it covers 2004 to 2009 when Bush was in charge, and before they were (we are told) used with greater precision.  In any event, the study may be useful because of the fact that drone targeting has markedly increased during the Obama Administration.
    In general, we know that, when properly used, weapons on drones can allow far more precise targetings than other available weapons systems and should result in a decrease in unintended civilian casualties.  There may be a problem re: CIA flyers (who might be inadequately trained in the laws of war) versus air force flyers, etc.

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