The third of our twice-yearly updates details new operators and other significant developments around the proliferation of armed drones. For our complete list of states operating, or close to operating, armed drones see Who Has Armed Drones?
France undertakes first drone strikes
As was long been expected, the French Reaper fleet started to undergo weaponization in October 2019, with Jane’s reporting that this process will continue to run until Nov 2021 under a contract worth $17.87m. A mere two days after completing a first test launch with its new missiles, the French air force carried out its first drone strike in Mali. The strike, on 23 December, was part of an operation that reportedly killed 40 ‘terrorists’. A further drone strike in Mali on 19 January was reported by the French Ministry of Defence, killing five alleged armed militants. This represents a clear escalation in the use of force. Read more