Innovations affect every sphere of human life, even the way of regulating the armed conflicts or the style of warfare. Thus, armed forces of many countries buy more and more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), preferring the fight between machines to the fight between people. There is the significant difference between the UAV, which is a machine itself, and the UAS (Unmanned Aerial System), which includes aircraft, operator, control station, sensors, and cameras. An unmanned system is unmanned in the direct sense; many people spent years to create it and make it operate, and a pilot is always watching the vehicle and holds everything under control. Such exclusion of people from the processes makes war less concrete and more efficient at the same time.
However, people usually hear about UAVs in connection to military conflicts. Moreover, the public perception of the word “drone” is slightly negative: when people use this term instead of UAV, they usually think about a vehicle that can be applied in the military sphere only. However, there are also drones that change the world for good: some of them gather data and perform surveillance in the military sphere and some are used for commercial purposes. Although the use of UAVs in Jordan specifically has many advantages and can save many innocent lives when applied according to unmanned aircraft laws, there still stands the question whether the UAVs use in armed conflict is lawful.
Jordan stands in the middle of the politically unstable region but it is very hospitable: the country accepts foreigners and refugees from almost all neighboring countries. Furthermore, Jordan is the cornerstone of the political stability in the Middle East. The country is not rich in natural resources and raw materials, which is mainly caused by its specific geographical position; nevertheless, it managed to attract foreign capital. Thus, the country possesses a decent place on economic arena if to compare it to oil-rich Arab states, and because of that, it should protect its territories appropriately. In this regard, the air-to-surface missile threat becomes a serious defense trial. A combat aircraft might attack the country from the side of less peaceful neighbors. Therefore, the access to Jordan airspace is allowed only to aircraft that have named themselves and have been recognized before they approach 100 km of Jordan.
Jordan and Israel attempt to live in amity, which involves common recognition of their countries’ aerial borders, routes of civilian aircraft, and regulation of the movement on the air routes that should be used only by friendly aircraft. Nonetheless, it is not certain that the movement on these air routes will be regulated in future. In 2013, Jordan decided to disclose its two air routes for Israeli aircraft. Providing two corridors for Israel means that Jordan allows Israel to survey Syria with the help of UAVs, but Jordan also agrees that if there is no choice, the drones can be used to damage Syrian military objects (Ditz, 2013). The country’s total measures for protecting the aerial borders are highly important though inefficient enough. Security ground control of Jordan is also vital as protecting territories near the airport. Finally, to protect the aerial borders of Jordan and to stop attacks on crucial military objects and on the areas where civilians live, Jordan has to take strict safety measures.
Recently, Jordanian air forces had to prevent the intervention of Syrian opposition to the northern part of the country. In particular, the Syrian aircraft crossed Jordanian air border and fired. After this attempt, Israel gave Jordan several military vehicles for watching and protecting the northern border from the militant neighbor. Nowadays, Syria does not have any access to the airspace of Jordan (The Jordan Times, 2014). To prevent such instances in future, Jordan started following a pro-Western policy and became the ally of the USA and the UK. Nowadays, the country’s Armed Forces are considered the most professional and efficient in the Middle East. Moreover, in 2014, Jordan intervened in the Syrian Civil War and cooperated with the United States that headed an aerial attacking campaign of an international alliance against the radical Islamic groups. In 2015, Jordan participated in the intervention started by military forces of Saudi Arabia in Yemen against the Shia Нouthis and other allies of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had lost the position of Yemen’s president in 2011 in the course of the national rebellion (The Jordan Times, 2014).
The aircraft industry of Jordan is highly developed primarily due to the King Abdullah Design and the military enterprise of Jordanian Development Bureau (KADDB). The latter is the self-controlling agency created on 24th August 1999 with the aim to help the Royal Army of Jordan with various supplies and services. KADDB was also established for creating military and general-purpose equipment suitable for Middle East conditions. It produces all types of products for the Royal Army from heavy combat vehicles to high-quality Kevlar helmets and bulletproof armors. In addition, KADDB is reported to be the first company in Arabia that constructed unmanned flying vehicles for military use. In 2001, the Jordan Design and Development Bureau together with Jordan Aerospace Industries developed a business agreement and united into Jordan Advanced Remote Systems (JARS) to create a series of unmanned aerial drones.
Usually, KADDB’s products are introduced at the global military exhibition SOFEX that takes place every two years (Tiron, 2005). In 2012, SOFEX consisted of 33 national sectors that introduced 323 companies. During three days, the exhibition attracted a great number of guests including 108 groups of delegates from 56 states (Tiron, 2005). During SOFEX, the Silent Eye was presented – a portable UAV that could be carried in one’s backpack. This drone ensures the citizens’ security by exploring and controlling the country’s territory, collecting information, and monitoring the highway traffic. It also helps to minimize damage, injuries and loss of the civilians’ lives and, thus, contributes to their health and safety. Importantly, the device can be put together and launched in no more than fifteen minutes (“Terrorists develop,” 2004). Lastly, the Silent Eye has a mode of automatic operation that works from launching to amortization.
The I-Wing is another innovative UAV that is a slightly bigger than the Silent Eye drone. The distance from its left wingtip to the right wingtip is 1.25 meter (Tiron, 2005). The I-Wing is stored with its wings and tail folded, but they can be quickly unfolded for launching. Most interestingly, when the drone reaches a 100-meter altitude, its engine ignites and the UAV can fly without somebody’s help.
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The Jordan Arrow is the device that is often used for different kinds of air-defense training and examining of weapon systems. The Arrow imitates different hazards that may come from the air. The UAV is equipped with the generating plant, which is the source of electric power, a system of automatic aircraft control, rescue equipment, and innovative software that controls the flight (Tiron, 2005).
Another KADDB’s product is the Jordan Falcon – the most known light-class unmanned aircraft vehicle. The Falcon UAV was created for observation missions. It is an unarmed system equipped with sensors and optical systems aimed to make the survey as well as find and observe the target. Moreover, it performs real-time day and night preliminary survey; it can watch and collect all the data about the target from the distance up to 50 kilometers (“Terrorists develop,” 2004). It looks like a small aircraft and has a fuselage, main wingspan, and straight-edged wings. On the undercarriage, there are four fixed legs. In addition, the Jordan Falcon has a two-cycle engine that works on a mixture of oil and gas, does not produce much noise and has satellite navigation system. The ground operator controls the Falcon but it also can be autonomous if required. Its maximum speed is 110 miles per hour and it can operate up to four hours. However, if equipped with additional fuel tank, the Falcon increases its capacity (Military Factory, 2012).
In 1946, the kingdom of Jordan became independent. However, only in 1950, it began to create its own aviation authority body. In the beginning, it was air defense department with few workers only; in contrast, nowadays, it is huge aviation body that is known under the name of Arab Legion Air Force (ALAF). Essentially, the Royal Air Force helped to train the air defense department of Jordan and provided all the equipment needed. By 1955, the King of Jordan understood that the country’s air forces needed more innovations and development, and on September 25 of the same year, he created the RJAF (Malkavi, 2016).
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In 2004, Jordan International Air Cargo (JIAC) was established to govern the global passenger operations. Although being a part of the Royal Air Force of Jordan, it does not participate in JIAC activities and is not able to cancel its decisions. In addition, JIAC does not convey operations for the Royal Air Force of Jordan; however, the exception can be made for operations in the commercial sphere. The president of JIAC is Captain Ziad Hanandeh, the cargo and security director is Mohammad Jbour, and the commercial director is Yanal Kurdi.
The Commission of Jordan Civil Aviation is the major aviation authority body in Jordanian kingdom of Hashemite. Jordan’s civil aviation law, which was adopted in 2007, states that the CARC is financially and administratively independent from the state. Additionally, its responsibilities include providing Jordanian aircraft with the different services and supplies, regulating military planes’ traffic, and controlling safety and security in the country.
King Нussein Air College in Mafraq is considered to be the part of Jordanian air force. It began to train pilots in 1974 and the first group of pilots received their diplomas in 1975. In 1978, it changed its name to King Hussein College with Junior Command and Staff School, which was founded in 1979, and the Air Command and Staff College that started its training activity in 1990 (“Armed forces overviews,” 2015).
Concerning the U.S. military support, it is mostly aimed to upgrade air defense body of Jordan. Recently obtained aircraft include advanced rockets and object-detection systems manufactured by the United States. Thus, the U.S. restored full military connections with Jordan mainly due to its constant support of the Jordan’s Army during the Persian Gulf War as well as the signing of the Peace Agreement between Israel and Jordan. The new stage of Jordan–US relations started with the contribution of Fighting Falcon planes to the Regeneration Center (AMARC) that was used as a storage area. In 1997, the deliveries of Fighting Falcon started, and in 1998, when the device substituted the Mirage in the system of defense against attacks, they were accomplished. Finally, extensive training with recently obtained Mirage in Royal Jordanian Air Forces assumes its key role.
The Aviation Brigade of Jordan that is responsible for special operations was using Blackhawk and MD helicopters for exceptional occasions and border protection. In 1990-2000, two units of the US Air Force Cobra military armed aircraft were sent to Jordan. In 1994, after the beginning of the Mutual Defense Assistance Program, eighteen Bell helicopters were transferred to the mentioned country, and in 1996, eighteen military helicopters followed them. In 2016, according to the no-cost lease agreement, eight Black Hawk planes were delivered to Jordan. Besides, the transfer of eight new Black Hawks from the USA to Jordan is planned for 2017 as a part of the United States military assistance (Malkavi, 2016). Jordan also supports Air Force of the Middle East by training the pilots of Bahrain and helping Iraq. Furthermore, there is a close partnership between Jordanian and the US Air Force. The Chief of Air Staff heads the Royal Jordanian Air Force. Since 2013, the chief of the latter is Major General Mansour Aljobour.
For Jordan, providing safety environment for civil aviation, its passengers and crew is a fundamental and extremely important issue. The government has its obligations before people, for example, to protect the civil aviation from the acts of unlawful disturbance. The agreement signed between the US and Jordan confirms that both sides should provide all necessary support to prevent the seizure of aircraft or other unlawful activities against the safety of aircraft vehicle, passengers, and aircrew.
Generally, personal use of UAVs is allowed in Jordan. However, there are certain requirements that one should consider when using the drone in the country. Importantly, the operators should not forget about these requirements while flying in the kingdom. Firstly, an operator has to obtain special permission before using the UAV. Secondly, it is forbidden to fly the drone over people: an operator should remember that everyone has the right to privacy and he/she should respect this right. However, nothing stops a person from flying the UAV and pointing the camera at windows of neighboring houses.
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Thirdly, the UAV must not be used near military buildings, enterprises, plants, any other places of industrial concern as well as near the airports and the air bases where aerial vehicles are operating. Moreover, there are guidelines about how far an operator can fly the UAV and how high it can be launched; importantly, these guidelines differ from one country to another. Lastly, it is only permitted to operate the UAV during the daytime and in good weather conditions (“Jordan drone laws,” 2016).
In recent years, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, drones) in armed conflicts has significantly increased that caused concern from humanitarian, legal and other perspectives. The international humanitarian law, which is the set of rules that regulate armed conflict, does not contain an explicit prohibition of the UAV and does not consider them either as the weapon in general or the treacherous weapon in particular. In this respect, UAVs do not differ from those types of weapons that are used in manned aircraft such as helicopters or other combat vehicles. However, although drones are legal, their use is regulated by international law.
When there is no armed conflict, International Human Right Law is the appropriate set of laws. In contrast, when an armed conflict takes place, the question whether IHRL is applicable should be discussed. Comparing with International Humanitarian Law, IHRL does not allow the attacking of any person because of that person’s status. Moreover, causing risk, injury or death is only allowed if this is inevitable and is done to protect another person who can be unlawfully harmed. The use of deadly force is permissible only if it follows the conditions of the human right law and is performed in a way that reduces the lethal force as much as possible. To conclude, conveying lethal operations with the use of UAVs in peaceful conditions can be lawful only in an exceptional situation. The responsibility for protecting lives of civil and military men in armed conflicts lies on the government that should realize the benefits of the innovative approach to military surveillance, defense, and preventing injuries and deaths. Moreover, the authorities should understand that their citizens’ security is completely upon their jurisdiction. Taking into account the fact that modern armed conflicts are often kept in secret, the question of UAV’s use, in the legal and political sense, will remain unsolved for some time (Wagner, 2014).
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During conflicts around the globe or local armed conflicts, the operations with unmanned aerial vehicles should be performed according to the rules of International Humanitarian Law that should be enforced to the use of any weapon complexes or missile systems. This set of laws encloses the forbiddance of surplus injury or unneeded suffering, the demand to take measures before attacking and to remember the principles of discrimination and proportionality. These rules are either mentioned in agreement law or it is the part of the general international law, although their precise distinction is a matter of disputation. The forbiddance of surplus injury or unneeded suffering is widely discussed, and the main idea of it is that the attacks should be aimed at weakening an enemy and that the number of human injuries must be reduced as much as possible due to the military necessity.
At present, the most heated controversy revolved around the question of using UAVs with weapons on board in combat operations. The supporters of the use of drones claim that the attacks with the use of this type of weapon are characterized by a great degree of accuracy, which in turn, reduces the number of victims and destructions. On the other hand, the UAVs’ opponents state that in the attacks with the use of drones many mistakes have been made, resulting in the deaths or injuries of the civilians. However, not all drones carry weapons on board and could be applied for fighting. The surveillance concerning UAV with no weapons on board can perform a number of tasks in the civilian sphere. Besides, the majority of military drones does not have weapons on board and is for intelligence purposes, in particular, for transmitting information about the location of the enemy targets and determining their type.
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To conclude, UAVs as flying vehicles are legal by their nature as they allow a person to obey the important rules of IHRL and IHL. Both sets of rules have been violated before, and the humanity should try to avoid these violations in future. Moreover, there are many undeniable advantages of UAVs; for example, these drones can save lives of military men and civilians on both sides. This may result in the increase of drone use during military operations in future. For a long period, people tried to invent a technology that would allow decreasing a quantity of military armed operations. The question of regulating armed conflicts with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles and following the International Human Right law and other laws is rather controversial and needs time for being solved.
The UAV warfare is not only the innovative technology itself but also the ethical question that stands behind it. This question lies more in the sphere of politics than in the sphere of law. Using drones means making armed conflicts more impersonal as well as reducing the quantity of injuries, destructions, and deaths. Finally, some people think that if not to take into account the fact that the right to privacy is sometimes violated while using the UAV, this technology has more advantages than disadvantages.