The army’s drones are unarmed and serve observation purposes only, said defence minister François Bausch in answer to a parliamentary question published last week.

The materiel includes 12 micro drones with a weight of up to 1.5 kilogrammes, six systems of three mini drones weighing 2 kilogrammes, and another eight systems of three drones, each weighing 7 kilogrammes. Finally, the army owns two systems of two medium-sized drones, weighing 75 kilogrammes.

Bausch specified that the drones purchased by the army cannot be armed and that the military is deployed to crisis regions exclusively as part of EU, Nato or UN missions. Currently, the army uses drones to support a European training mission in Mali, scheduled to last until 19 June 2022.

The €13.9m Luxembourg participation sees 20 soldiers help train Malian security forces. The so-called EUTM Mali first began in 2013 after a 2012 coup d’état and jihadist uprisings in the north of the country.

The military plans on buying more drones to expand its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, but Bausch said there were no precise plans yet.

The government previously invested €309m in an Earth observation satellite that aims at supporting EU, Nato and UN missions by providing high resolution images, for example of conflict areas or in the wake of natural disasters.