Weapons Engineering & Aerospace

Panel discussion on the Dutch/EU weapons industry and Aerospace students and faculty

Was the first technological innovation a weapon? There is no direct evidence in the archaeological record, and there probably never will be since our early ancestors were using wood, bones, and unworked stones, but what the record does show is what a central role weapons have played in human history. Simply put, we wouldn’t be where we are without them.

Today, we’re a long way from sticks and stones. At the TU Delft, each individual engineer needs to make their own decisions about what sort of technology they wish to contribute to, including weapons. Aerospace engineers especially often end up in an industry with strong ties to military weapons research and manufacturing. But how well prepared are they to deal with this responsibility and the personal choices required of them? What do they know about the possible consequences of their contributions to the field?

In 2016 researcher and activist Mark Akkerman published a report called Oorlog aan de grenzen, or “War At The Borders.” It details the involvement of Dutch companies, government, and research institutes in the armed upheavals in Middle Eastern and North African countries and the ensuing stream of refugees. It was featured on Dutch news website De Correspondent in a series of articles on EU military spending and arms trading. (1, 2, 3, and in English, 4)

To open this event mr. Akkerman will use his report to sketch the scene and place weapons engineering in the context of society, economics, and global politics. After this introduction, he will be joined by a panel of speakers from the Aerospace faculty to discuss the ethical choices faced by Aerospace students in their future careers. Mark Voskuijl, assistant professor at Aerospace, Joost Broekhuizen, Aerospace Master’s student who has an internship at TNO on smart bullets, and Yvonne Eggers, Aerospace Bachelor’s student, will join the panel.

An open conversation between the panelists, with questions and comments from the audience, should give plenty of food for thought for people on either side of the ethical issues.

Mark Akkerman – Stop Wapenhandel
Mark Voskuijl – Assistant Professor in Flight Mechanics and Propulsion TU Delft
Joost Broekhuizen – MA student at Aerospace, internship on smart bullets at TNO
Yvonne Eggers- BA student at Aerospace

Free lunch included. First come first serve, so please be on time!

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