The question of drone weaponisation is of key importance for the German defence architecture and is an important ethical question. The main focus is on the comprehensive protection of soldiers in action. The necessary technology is available and ready for use. Now the necessary steps must be taken to ensure the safety of the Bundeswehr during missions abroad. A high-calibre panel discussed this in Berlin.
Politics play a key role in the use of technology
Dr. Reinhard Brandl, MP for the CSU, Andreas Schwarz, MP for the SPD, and Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, discussed these topics under the moderation of Alexander Reinhardt, Head of Airbus's Berlin office. The panellists agreed that this technology holds great advantages and that embedding it in a fixed value system is the underlying basis for ethical deployment. It is now up to the German federal government to set the course for this important defence technology.
Armed drones cannot be replaced
Unmanned aerial vehicles perform a function that combat helicopters, such as the Tiger, can only perform to a certain extent. Drones complement the existing defence architecture and bring additional advantages in defence cases. They therefore have a key role to play in future defence projects such as the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). One of the most important aspects is to reduce the risk potential of the soldiers.
Safety of soldiers has the highest priority
Drones lead to a strong increase in the safety of soldiers in action. This is especially important for a parliamentary army. Unmanned aerial vehicles do not risk impairing the pilot in combat and also enable more precise flight control without time delay. In addition, there is the availability of a large amount of information that can be used more efficiently. This allows for comprehensive situational awareness and obtaining legal advice prior to deployment. This allows important decisions to be made in real time. It also leads to more precise actions with less collateral damage. In addition, the operational costs of a drone are significantly lower than a flying hour with pilots.
Only humans should take responsibility
Germany is at the forefront of ethical and moral issues surrounding unmanned weapons systems. On the one hand, automation and autonomy significantly increases the safety of soldiers in action. On the other hand, it is without a doubt that every action regarding the use of drones must be taken by a human being. This is the only way to justify an ethical deployment.
As the strongest economic power in Europe and an important pillar of NATO, Germany cannot shirk its international responsibility. In increasingly difficult missions, drones are playing an ever more important role. So far, Germany has often cooperated with key alliance partners in this regard. But as an important international player, Germany cannot and should not shy away from its responsibilities. Armed drones are a key technology for defence. Germany should close this capability gap. This was highlighted during this panel discussion.
Aviation is becoming climate-neutral. How this could be achieved was presented by leading aviation and aerospace experts at the EU AeroDays in Berlin. Sustainable fuels, hydrogen and digitalisation play a key role in achieving these goals.
Leading aviation and aerospace representatives from politics and business have shown the path to climate neutrality in Berlin. At the high-profile EU AeroDays, leading voices of the industry met to discuss the way out of the crisis and towards emission-free flying. The representatives were agreed: only the combination of different technologies will lead to success.
For energy transition in the skies
The leading topic of the conference, co-organised by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and the European Commission was the transition in energy supply: fossil fuels must be replaced. Hydrogen will play a prominent role in this process. However, this will require significant changes to infrastructure and aircraft design. This can only be achieved through efforts by society as a whole and considerable investments in this technology as climate-neutral aviation requires appropriate aircraft.
There is no silver bullet to climate neutrality
The experts agreed that no single technology will lead to climate-neutrality. Only the combination of innovative solutions will enable the sustainable reduction of emissions. In the short term, so-called sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will play a key role in the reduction of emissions. Processes must also become more efficient, above all the air traffic management should be fully digitalised.
EU AeroDays point the way to aviation of the future
The EU AeroDays are the most important high-level meeting of this kind in Europe. They deal with how research, innovation and technology can be driven forward to make aviation even more sustainable, digital and competitive. The event has brought together leading figures from research, politics, industry, finance and energy in Berlin as part of the German EU Council Presidency. The EU AeroDays kicked off on November 24, 2020 with the Berlin Aviation Summit (BAS).
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury speaks at German Industry Day about climate-neutrality and the challenges posed by the corona crisis.
On the occasion of German Industry Day on 6 October 2020, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury emphasised the severity of the corona crisis and the importance of climate-neutrality for aviation. Guillaume Faury spoke at the Federation of German Industries (BDI) about specific steps to reduce emissions and the necessary actions to achieve climate-neutrality.
The aerospace industry is facing the most severe crisis. Nevertheless, Airbus has set ambitious goals. Faury outlined how the energy transition in the skies can succeed: "Even today, airlines can fly with up to 50% bio-fuel”. This helps in the short term to reduce emissions. The long-term objective of climate-neutrality can be reached with hydrogen. However, for all these technologies availability and cost are crucial.
Airbus has an ambitious timeline. "We expect these alternative fuels to be technologically mature by 2027/2028", said Faury. In turn, Airbus will be able to develop the world's first climate-neutral commercial aircraft by 2035. As a result, it is important to establish uniform political regulations to avoid inconsistencies between different countries. Through this, the objective of climate-neutral flight can be achieved. The Airbus CEO sums up: "Climate-neutrality is a competitive advantage".
50 years pioneering progress: Airbus executives met with political decision-makers in Berlin on 12 September to celebrate the half-centenary Airbus. The guests at the event underlined the significance of Airbus for Europe and Germany.
Guest of honour Klaus von Dohnanyi was one of the most important trailblazers of a common European aerospace industry. In his speech, the former Federal Minister for Education and Science and long-time First Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg recalled the birthday of Airbus in 1969. He remarked that Airbus triumphed against all the scepticism and strong opposition to become a world-market leader.
With more than 50,000 employees at 27 locations, Airbus ranks among the most important employers in Germany. This was highlighted by Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury: “Today, the European aviation industry employs around 500,000 people. Never before has the industry been so economically important. That’s not to mention the positive impacts it has on Germany: one in six civilian aircraft delivered around the world has its origin here.”
This was reinforced by Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister for Economy and Energy. He emphasised the pioneering role played by Airbus, which was exhibited time and again over the course of the last 50 years. He added that the German government would also play a part in supporting the success of Airbus in the future.
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury speaks about Europe's future and sustainability at DGAP in Berlin.
On the occasion of Europe Day on 9 May, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury has delivered his first speech in Berlin following his appointment in April. Guillaume Faury spoke at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) about Europe’s challenges and opportunities.
The new Airbus CEO — who delivered his remarks in German — emphasised the continued importance of Europe for generations to come.
Hamburg's First Mayor, Dr. Peter Tschentscher, got to know the latest innovations from Airbus at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), including the A320 Airspace Cabin with extra-large luggage storage compartments and the innovative Airbus Connected Experience platform.
At the beginning of April, the most important aircraft cabin innovations were presented at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX). Hamburg's First Mayor, Dr. Peter Tschentscher, was impressed by Airbus’ cabin innovations. In particular, the Airbus Connected Experience was met with great interest. This platform links the core elements of the aircraft cabin in real time, including the galley, trolleys, seats and luggage compartments. Passengers can now personalise their flight experience. For example, they can pre-order food based on individual preference prediction. Airlines are also seeing new opportunities for predictive maintenance and more efficient resource management.
In addition, Dr. Tschentscher was intrigued by the A320 Airspace cabin. With extra-large luggage compartments, this new cabin provides additional passenger extra-large storage space and numerous airline options to customise the cabin accordingly. For example, the LED lighting can be adjusted, further improving the flying experience.
During his visit, Dr. Peter Tschentscher highlighted the importance of Airbus for Hamburg and Germany. Every sixth aircraft worldwide comes from Hamburg and every new aircraft contains high-tech made in Germany. Airbus plays a central role for Germany as an industrial hub and secures prosperity in Europe. Hamburg is a key pillar for this.