Since the first use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles in 2001, armed drones have become increasingly important. This was most recently demonstrated in the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. But “drones” is a collective term that covers a wide range of systems: From remotely piloted to virtually autonomous systems, from kamikaze drones to unmanned fighter jets, it is important to distinguish between them, especially when it comes to questions of control and limitation. Moreover, drones can in principle be based in the air, on the ground or in the water, which makes the distinction even more complex. All these systems also bear the potential to improve arms control—for example, by facilitating verification and allowing inspectors to conduct safe inspections.

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