Drone Wars Library – UK drone operations

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 UK Drone Operations

The UK began using armed drones in 2004 as part of the combined US/UK Predator task force before acquiring its own armed Reaper drones for operation in Afghanistan in 2007.  Ministry of Defence figures show the percentage of airstrikes in Afghanistan undertaken by British drones has risen from 52% in 2009/10 to 82% in 2013/14. The MoD confirmed in January 2014 that Reapers would be retained following the end of combat operations in Afghanistan but continues to insist that no decision had been taken on future basing options. In October 2014 it was announced that UK armed drones would be deployed for operations in Iraq.

Key documents and articles

Oct 2014 The Security Impact of Drones: Challenges and Opportunities for the UK Overview of the security impact of military and civilian drones by Birmingham Policy Commission
Oct 2014 UK to deploy armed drones against Islamic State in Iraq MoD announces deployment of UK armed drones to Iraq
Sept 2014 MoD facing legal challenge over armed drone deployment outside Afghanistan Campaigners consider Judicial Review over redeployment of UK armed drones
Sept 2014 Into the Fire: The dangers of redeploying British armed drones after Afghanistan The peace and security implications of redeploying UK armed drones
July 2014 Government response to Defence Select Committee Report on RPAS (drones) Government response to Defence Select Committee Report.
July 2014 New figures show UK increasingly relying on drones for strikes in Afghanistan Over 80% of UK airstrikes in Afghanistan carried out by drones
July 2014 More RAF Reapers Take To The Skies MoD press release confirms five additional armed Reapers are in operation
Mar 2014 Remote Control: Remotely Piloted Air Systems – current and future UK use Report from Defence Select Committee into use of UK drones
Feb 2014 RAF has fired missiles in Afghanistan using US drones, MoD reveals FOIA reveals UK use of US drones in Afghanistan
Dec 2013 Don’t call them drones: RAF launches charm offensive for ‘unmanned aircraft’   UK launches PR effort to improve perception of UK’s drone use
Nov 2013 Integrating remotely piloted air systems Overview of current and future UK drone operations from RAF’s 2013 Yearbook
Sept 2013 Remote Control:  RPAS MoD memo on UK drone   operations to UK Defence Select Committee
Sept 2013 UK drones three times more   likely than US to fire in Afghanistan Analysis of UK drone strike figures
Aug 2013 UK drone pilot witness Statement RAF Squadron Leader gives some background details of UK   drone operations
June   2013 After   five years of British drone strikes, five facts we are not allowed to know Examining   secrecy surrounding UK’s use of armed drones
May   2013 The   Rise of Britain’s drone wars GQ   Magazine examines Britain’s use of armed drones
April   2013 First   deskbound drone pilots get their RAF wings First   RAF drone specialist pilots qualify
March   2013 Drone   stats: how the UK has adjusted Reaper weapons use Statistics   of weapons launched by UK Reaper drones in Afghanistan
Dec   2012 Unmanned   Aerial Vehicles (drones): an introduction UK   parliament background briefing on drones
Dec   2012 Revealed:   US and Britain launched 1,200 drone strikes in recent wars Analysis   of US and UK drone strikes in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq
Sep   2012 The   air force men who fly drones in Afghanistan by remote control Telegraph   article on UK pilots and operations
Sept   2012 Shelling   Out: UK spending on unmanned drones An   analysis of UK spending on drones 2007-2012
Mar   2011 The   UK Approach to Unmanned Aircraft Systems – JDN 2/11 UK MoD   policy document on use of drones, including review of moral, legal and   ethical issues
Mar   2009 RAF   Bomb the Taliban from 8000 miles away – Daily Telegraph DT   reporter visits UK drones operators at their base in Nevada.
Jun   2008 Air   Power – UAVs: The Wider Context RAF   Study into the use of UAVs


Further Information:

Drone Wars UK posts tagged  UK Drones




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