Since British military operations against ISIS began last September the MoD has been publishing brief updates of its military activity in Iraq on its website (see here). These updates include some details of strikes undertaken by both British Reaper drones and the UK’s dedicated strike aircraft, the Tornado. We now have 12 months of updates (Sept 14 – Aug 15) and while most but not all strikes have been included in these updates it does allow us to make some initial comparisons.
Six months on from the UK’s first drone strike against ISIS, new figures have been released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to Drone Wars UK detailing the number of air and drone strikes that have been undertaken by UK forces in Iraq.
Drone Wars UK has obtained the first detailed figures for use of armed British drones in Iraq and Syria since UK operations began in October 2014. A Ministry of Defence (MoD) response to a Freedom of Information request from the group show that the UK flew just over 100 armed Reaper missions in Iraq in the ten weeks up until 31 December 2014, launching 38 Hellfire missiles. Although Parliament expressly granted authorisation only for the use of military force in Iraq, 5 Reaper flights took place over Syria although no weapons were launched. Read more
On Monday 12 January the UK Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon told the House of Commons that there had been 99 UK airstrikes in Iraq since the beginning of airstrikes on 22 October. On Tuesday 13 January the MoD reported a further strike bringing the total to 100. By our calculations, using reports published by the MoD on their website, approximately one-third have been carried out by the UK’s armed Reaper drones (see table below). Read more
Newly released Ministry of Defence (MoD) figures show that the UK is increasingly relying on its armed Reaper drones to carry out attacks in Afghanistan. The figures show that the use of drones to carry out attacks in Afghanistan has risen from roughly half in 2009/10 to more than four-fifths today.
The MoD and Department for Transport have responded to recent FoI requests helping us to shine some light on use of drones in Afghanistan and plans for drone use in the UK. Read more