German chancellor’s drone ‘attack’ shows the threat of weaponised UAVs

At a campaign rally in Dresden on 15 September, a small quadrocopter flew close to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere, hovering briefly in front of them before crashing into the stage practically at Merkel’s feet. Merkel appeared to be amused by the “drone attack,” but de Maiziere and others on the stage seemed a bit more unsettled by the robo-kamikaze.

The quadrocopter, a Parrot AR drone, was operated by a member of the German Pirate Party as a protest against government surveillance and the ongoing scandal over the Euro Hawk drone program — which failed because it could not get certified to fly in European airspace. In a statement, the deputy head of the Pirate Party, Markus Barenhoff, said, “The goal of the effort was to make Chancellor Merkel and Defense Minister de Maiziere realise what it’s like to be subjugated to drone observation.”┬áThe drone was harmless, aside from potential political collateral damage to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party, and the pilot of the drone was released after being briefly held by police.

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