On 7 December 2020, German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Lars Patrick Berg of the Identity and Democracy Group posed a written parliamentary question to the Vice-President of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell:

“One of the lessons of the recent conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh was the effective use of drone technology by Azerbaijani forces. This technology offset Armenia’s superiority in its trained forces and artillery.

What lessons does the VP/HR take from this for future PESCO planning?”

On 1 February 2021, High Representative Borrell responded to MEP Lars Patrick Berg, stating: “The recent conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, like others before, has highlighted the decisive military advantage that the use of drones provides to a belligerent in an operational theatre.

Among the 46 projects currently under development within the framework of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), three are directly related to drones:

— The European Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (MALE RPAS) project, which intends to facilitate the common use of the future Eurodrone which has been developed by certain Member States outside the framework of PESCO;

— The counter Unmanned Aerial System project, which aims at developing a system able to counter the threat posed to troops deployed in operational theatres by mini and micro drones;

— The European Global RPAS Insertion Architecture System project, which aims at developing a modelling and simulation system architecture to define innovative insertion procedure in airspace for drones.

The EU has its capability prioritisation tools that inform Member States’ defence capability development. The PESCO capability development efforts are guided by the 2018 Capability Development Plan (CDP), which includes the Air Superiority priority, encompassing air combat and Anti-Access/Area Denial capabilities, as well as air ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) platforms.

Moreover, the 2019-2020 Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) cycle confirmed that there are collaborative opportunities to be further taken by the Member States in developing capabilities to countering low-speed/low visibility Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) to improve force protection as well as to contribute to the establishment of a European standard for Anti-Access/Area Denial.”


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