A new report exploring the development of the use of remote control technology to deliver tear gas and other 'riot control agents' (RCAs) has been released by the Remote Control Project, the Omega Foundation and the Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project. The report, called “Tear Gassing by Remote Control”, charts the development of various different types of remote control technology now being sold by arms companies from across the world, including drones armed with tear gas, pepper balls and paint balls, remotely operated water cannon designed for use in prisons, and other similar equipment.
The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the use of any chemical weapon – including tear gas – but they are allowed by police forces, and many of these controversial weapons are being marketed towards police forces across the world. The report raises concerns about how such technology could be used by non-state actors such as terror groups or unregulated security firms, its use in armed conflict as a 'force multiplier', used to commit human rights abuses – and 'inappropriate means of delivery of law enforcement'.
Technology from across the world is assessed in the report, including a drone armed with paint balls and pepper balls, built by South African company 'Desert Wolf'. The 'Skunk Riot Control Copter' is an unmanned aerial vehicle that can fire up to 80 rounds per second. Acccording to the report, Desert Wolf has “entered into an agreement with an un-named South American manufacturer who would supply a range of “non-lethal” grenades including smoke, flash-bang and tear gas for use in an upgraded Skunk model.”
Israeli company G-NIUS also features, with the 'Guardium unmanned ground vehicle'. The Guardium is 'semi-autonomous', can operate for up to 24 hours, and can be armed with a variety of weapons. Spanish company Technological & Robotics Systems i
s also included, having recently produced the 'RiotBot' an unmanned ground vehicle which is again designed to fire 'non-lethal' riot control substances such as pepper balls. Meanwhile, US company Inspectorbot has built the 'Mega Hurtz', a 'tactical robotic platform' capable of destroying concrete walls.
The full report is available on the Remote Control Project website here: http://remotecontrolproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Tear-Gassing-By-Remote-Control-Report.pdf