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.
More than three years after first submitting a Freedom of Information request, the UK Ministry of Defence has finally told us in which Afghan provinces UK drones strikes took place.
Although there is no detail on the number of strikes within each province, the MoD reveals that UK drones strikes occurred in 16 out of Afghan’s 33 provinces between May 2008 and November 2014. Full statistical details of UK drone operations in Afghanistan compiled from Freedom of Information requests and other public information is available here. The MoD stresses that the final UK drone mission in Afghanistan was completed on 15 November 2014.
Following a Freedom of Information request from Drone Wars UK the Ministry of Defence has revealed for the first time that the UK’s Reaper drone fleet has relocated partly to the Middle East and partly to the UK after the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The MoD stated in its FoI response to Chris Cole, Director of the campaign group:
“I can confirm Reaper, the RAF’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft System, has relocated to the United Kingdom and the Middle East. Under Section 16 of the Act (Advice and Assistance), you may find it helpful to note that the Reaper aircraft being returned to the UK will be kept in storage.”
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.
In a response to our FoI request the MoD has released new figures detailing the number and type of weapons launched by British Reaper drones in Afghanistan each month since May 2008. While the MoD have previously given annual totals, this is the first time that figures have been broken down for each month. The figures come in response to our Freedom of Information request that also reveals the number of strikes in Afghanistan undertaken by British RAF pilots using borrowed USAF Reaper drones (see our story here). Read more