Kargu-2 fully autonomous drone attacks Libyan armed forces

Occurred: May 2021

In the first recorded use of an autonomous drone attack, fully autonomous military drones are throught likely to have attacked human targets in Libya during a conflict in March 2020.

A United Nations report suggested Kargu-2 military drones are likely to have autonomously attacked Libya’s Haftar Armed Forces during a conflict in March 2020. The UN report referred to the drone as a "lethal autonomous weapon".

The Kargu-2 attack quadcopter is manufactured by Turkish weapons company STM Defense Technologies and is designed for asymmetric warfare and anti-terrorist operations. The drone can be operated by a single soldier in both autonomous and manual modes, and has real-time image processing capabilities and machine learning algorithms embedded on the platform.

The incident sparked debate about the ethics of the usage of autonomous weapons, and the need for regulation. Human rights, non-governmental organisations, including the United Nations, and technology experts have been calling for a global ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems (aka 'slaughterbots').

Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones were also used to deadly effect by Ukraine's air force during Russia's invasion of the eastern European country, and by the Ethiopian government against Tigray People’s Liberation Front rebels.

Operator: Government of Libya
Developer: STM
Country: Libya; Turkey  
Sector: Govt - defence
Purpose: Kill/maim adversaries
Technology: Drone; Robotics
Issue: Autonomous lethal weapons; Ethics
Transparency: Governance

News, commentary, analysis 🗞️

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: March 2022