Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 13th December 2016.

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Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what level of human control they consider necessary for compliance with international law in the context of lethal autonomous weapons; and how they will work with other states to define that level of control at the forthcoming Review Conference of the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

The Government of the United Kingdom does not possess fully autonomous weapon systems and has no intention of developing them. Such systems are not yet in existence and are not likely to be for many years, if at all. Although a limited number of defensive systems can currently operate in automatic mode, there is always a person involved in setting the parameters of any such mode. As a matter of policy, the UK is clear that the operation of our weapons will always be under human control. This information has been put on record a number of times, in both Parliament and international forums.

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