The French Turn to Armed Drones

War on the Rocks, 22 septembre 2017

On Sept. 5, French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly announced the long-awaited decision to arm French surveillance drones. French drones are currently unarmed, used only for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, like the Reapers based in Niamey, Niger. Given that a dozen countries already have armed drones, this decision is surprising only in its delay. Why did it take so long to arm French drones ? How did it finally happen ? And what are the strategic implications of such a decision ? While the French debate on this topic has been influenced by the American precedent, there are ways for France to reap the strategic benefits of armed drones in the Sahel while avoiding the political fallout that the United States has experienced.

Cet article est mis à la disposition du lecteur mais il ne correspond pas à la mise en page de la version définitive et publiée à laquelle il convient de se référer pour toute citation.