The Drone Wars drone crash database has been updated with a further nineteen crashes of large (Class II and III) military drones; thirteen since the beginning of 2020 and six from 2018/19 only recently revealed. While there have been many claims and counter-claims of drones shot down in Syria, Yemen and Libya, we continue to include only crashes/downings that have been verified by photographs or video. Recording the crash of large military drones is an important means of monitoring the proliferation of these systems as well as documenting their inherent risk – see our report Accidents will happen – for more details. Read more
November 2019 saw seven civilian casualties incidents from drone strikes in four different war-zones illustrating the growing spread of drone warfare. The seven strikes between them are thought to have killed 41 civilians including 11 children.
Proponents of the use of armed drones often argue that drones are better at warfare as they can sit above the ‘fog and friction’ of war and therefore limit the harm to civilians as they have a better view of the ground. The reality, however, is that drones appear to be transferring the risk of warfare away from combatants onto the shoulders of civilians.
These seven strikes in the month of November are just a snapshot of the impact of drone warfare on civilians. However, the likelihood is that civilians will continue to be killed unless there is progress at the international level on controlling the proliferation and use of armed drones. Read more
New data about UK military operations in Iraq and Syria has been released to Drone Wars UK and Vice News over the past few days following separate Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.
Vice News obtained details of the number of combatants killed or wounded in RAF strikes each month since Oct 2014. The data shows that just under 1,000 combatants had been killed with almost 100 wounded. While the MoD are extremely careful to say they cannot Read more
Despite the catastrophic effects of the 2011 military intervention, momentum seems to be growing among western governments for further air strikes in Libya, this time against ISIS.
When asked by the Telegraph last month if Libya could be the next target for British military intervention, a British Government source said: “Things are moving in that direction. We are taking it one step at a time.” Military sources subsequently briefed the media that US and British Special Forces were in Libya gathering intelligence to prepare for a possible deployment of up to Read more
This week’s Guardian revelation that documents leaked by Edward Snowden show apparent GCHQ support for US drone targeted killings in Yemen demonstrates once again how drone technology is eroding our ability to draw the line between being involved in war or not.
Last week I took part in a discussion in parliament on the impact of drone technology. I was pressed by one of the participants on our contention that drones and the concept of remote, risk-free warfare is lowering the threshold for use of lethal force: “We just don’t accept this,” I was told, “where is your evidence?” Read more
On the day that 12 British parliamentarians wrote a joint letter to The Times calling on President Obama to stop drone strikes in Pakistan, it has been revealed that RAF pilots flew US drones during the Libyan conflict last year.
The UK has repeatedly insisted, in response to questions about UK involvement in the US drone strikes in Pakistan for example, that it has only every operated drones over Afghanistan. However in a written answer in the House of Lords, on the last day before recess, UK Defence Minister Lord Astor revealed: Read more