back to article France to tack weapons onto spy drones – reports

France is fitting weapons to its fleet of reconnaissance drones, according to reports. French defence minister Florence Parly said the EU nation's six Reaper drones would equipped with weapons, though she did not specify precisely what weapons, by 2020. The drone fleet is reportedly deployed in northwest Africa, being used in …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RAF Warrington

    <polite cough>RAF Waddington</polite cough>

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: RAF Warrington

      That's it's secret codename - now you have revealed it to our enemies

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RAF Warrington

        They probably got the name from someone living in nearby Quarrington.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RAF Warrington

        Best not to mention the secret base in Gulliver's world.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: RAF Warrington

          I was wondering if it was RAF Burtonwood or RNAS Stretton (HMS Blackcap) ...

  2. John G Imrie

    One more sep

    towards turning warfare into a video game.

    It's a lot easier to get someone to kill the enemy when they are on a tv screen than when you can hear the screams.

    1. Tigra 07
      Trollface

      Re: One more sep

      Traditional bombers wouldn't hear the screams in any case from their height.

      Suicide bombers might, but that stops when they drop their payload.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

        Re: One more sep

        Traditional bombers wouldn't hear the screams in any case from their height.

        True...but traditional antiaircraft fire, and traditional interceptors armed with traditional cannons and traditional missiles were pretty effective reminders to the bomber crew that they weren't playing a game on their Xbox

    2. x 7

      Re: One more sep

      By using a drone its a lot easier to vet the target and ensure that

      a) you have the correct target

      b) that there are no non-combatants around

      c) the pilot(s) are unstressed, more situationally aware and more likely to make the correct decision

      d) the chain of command is kept

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: One more sep

        "c) the pilot(s) are unstressed, more situationally aware and more likely to make the correct decision"

        Doesn't seem to be true -

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/01/us-drone-whistleblowers-brussels-european-parliament

      2. Teknogrot

        Re: One more sep

        Judging by reports only the last of these is true.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One more sep

      The people actually making the decisions about whether people will be killed or not are politicians and generals, and in their frame of reference warfare has been a mechanised process akin to a video game for ages.

  3. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Rebranding exercise

    Last year the Royal Air Force announced that it was rebranding the unmanned aerial vehicles as Protectors, to shake off the negative connotations of the Reaper name.

    Will the RAF also be rebranding the Typhoon as Refreshing Breeze?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rebranding exercise

      Will the RAF also be rebranding the Typhoon as Refreshing Breeze?

      How a about a nice friendly-sounding strapline? Something like "You only get a Boom with Typhoon"

      1. hellwig

        Re: Rebranding exercise

        Will the RAF also be rebranding the Typhoon as Refreshing Breeze?

        Reminds me when Philip Morris rebranded to Altria to distance themselves from the stigma of their product (cigarettes) killing millions of people.

      2. Korev Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Rebranding exercise

        Or what about "It's not frightening if it's a Lightening"*

        *To the people on the ground, the F35 pilots may err lose their heads.

    2. jmch Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Rebranding exercise

      "Last year the Royal Air Force announced that it was rebranding the unmanned aerial vehicles as Protectors, to shake off the negative connotations of the Reaper name."

      The RAF was instructed to do so by the ministry of peace

      1. Rustbucket

        Re: Rebranding exercise

        Or the Ministry Of Truth.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "though she did not specify precisely what weapons"

    Well, it's France, so obviously it'll be tactical nukes.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: "though she did not specify precisely what weapons"

      Hyper-velocity cheese, I would have assumed. Just to remind the Americans...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "though she did not specify precisely what weapons"

        Rocket propelled Chateau Lafite 1972 ... Apparently, it was a very bad vintage.

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: "though she did not specify precisely what weapons"

          Considering the current area of operations, as back up they could use trained African Swallows carryiing

          Coconut bombs.

      2. Alister Silver badge

        Re: "though she did not specify precisely what weapons"

        Hyper-velocity cheese, I would have assumed.

        Well if we're going down the traditional Python route...

        They'll be fitted with auto-unfurling white flags.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: "though she did not specify precisely what weapons"

          Python you say ....

          Well then you need a powered sheep and two canny French peasants to explain on a blackboard, ne c'est pas?

  5. Pangasinan Philippines
    Coat

    Name upgrade

    To Grim reaper

  6. Nick Kew

    Insecticide weapons?

    Whose drone was it you recently reported on doing battle with Asian hornets?

  7. Scott Broukell
    Coat

    Ower dronz weel fart in your general direktion, ha!

  8. frank ly

    Geneal Atomics Reaper drone

    That sounds scary!

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Geneal Atomics Reaper drone

      Relax @frank ly - General Atomics are the outfit who (back in the fifties) nearly brought us the nuclear-bomb-powered Orion spacecraft weighing in at 3000 tonnes.

      1. Steve the Cynic

        Re: Geneal Atomics Reaper drone

        Hey, don't diss 3000-tonne spacecraft! Up Goer Five tipped the scales at 3000 tonnes on the launchpad ready to go!

      2. GruntyMcPugh

        Re: Geneal Atomics Reaper drone

        If I recall correctly, the plan to launch Orion 'safely', was to build a launchpad on Antarctica. Plus, if I recall the schematics correctly, there didn't appear to be any way to steer the thing, or indeed, stop it, there was just one pusher plate at the bottom. Orion seems to be one of those back of the envelope calculations / pipe dreams that got taken a bit too seriously.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Geneal Atomics Reaper drone

        " the nuclear-bomb-powered Orion spacecraft weighing in at 3000 tonnes."

        You're missing a few zeros off that mass. The expected payload to Mars was 30,000 tons, let alone the gross mass.

  9. Mark 85 Silver badge

    "Arming the drones will give them 'endurance,

    Puzzled by this... adding payload will increase "endurance" as in flight time or survivability? Nether of which would happen by adding payload. Smells like double-speak.

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Spokesdrone probably meant survivability, as in taking AA batteries out with Hellfire missiles. Quite a stretch though.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        taking AA batteries out with Hellfire missiles.

        I usually use a screwdriver, myself. But I've heard the new Duracell can be difficult?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could be worse, they could be putting spy drones on weapons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      use a camera - get shot! and this is pre-drone lawfare

      http://www.newcarlislenews.net/index.php/public-records/sheriff-reports-6/3290-deputy-shoots-new-carlisle-news-photographer

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Sacre bleu!!

    Bleu you to hell in this case.

  12. GruntyMcPugh

    So, 'Reaper' is now 'Protector', what are 'Hellfire' missiles? 'Heavenly Backrub Devices'?

  13. handleoclast

    Mountain Dieu!

    Ze french, zey are buying ze weapons Americain?

    I thought they insisted on making everything themselves. And did pretty well at it. Whatever is the world coming to?

  14. Hairy Spod
    Facepalm

    Critics

    "Critics have pointed out that this reduces the killing of human beings to a mechanised process carried out through a screen and a controller, much like a video game. ®"

    ...because as we all know, manned ariel attacks, cruise missiles, artillery strikes and any other potential form of beyond visual range weaponry all require someone to see the whites of the victims eyes before they press the kill button

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Critics

      Manned aircraft are piloted by individuals who are usually overloaded and in the case of Navy pilots well beyond exhaustion and kept going by amphetamines - which has provably affected their judgement in many cases.

      Remotely operated aircraft can have any number of people involved, looking at the same things the pilot is looking at and aiming the weapons/deciding what to do whilst the operator/pilot gets on with the job of keeping the thing flying and pointed in the right direction. The bigger problem at the moment is that the operator is being tasked with doing virtually everything including pushing the fire button and this is causing situational awareness problems.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disappointed

    I initially read the sub-heading as "Rappers currently used solely for surveillance". That would have been much more fun.

  16. herman Silver badge

    You young guys need to grow up and grow a pair. I can assure you that it never feels like a TV game.

    Unfortunately there are a small number of extremely horrible people in the world. You cannot debate with them. Their minds are made up and they won't change it. The only way to handle them is to remove them. However, a game, it is not.

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