Say No to US Military Drone Tests in UK Skies!

This summer the US drone company General Atomics is bringing the latest version of its Predator drone – called ‘SkyGuardian’ – to undertake test flights over England and Scotland from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, and RAF Lossiemouth, north of Inverness.  Civil society groups and journalists have documented hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent civilians who have been killed in US drone strikes around the globe. However the drone wars continue to expand, and these flights are to demonstrate the new drone to European and other militaries as well as trialling new technology that will enable such drones to fly in civil airspace.

Further background: New details of US drone flights in UK this summer raise concerns over safety and corporate cronyism.  Read more

General Atomics plan flights of its new drone in UK – safety fears rerouted previous flights in the US    

A SkyGuardian UAV at General Atomics’ California factory.

General Atomics is to bring a company-owned SkyGuardian drone to the UK in the summer to undertake “a series of operational capability demonstrations” for the UK and other NATO members. The RAF’s soon to be acquired Protector drone is a version of the SkyGuardian with a range of UK modifications. The aircraft is being shipped into the UK rather than flying in (possibly due to the controversy around a previous flight to the UK) and will be based at RAF Waddington. Read more

Why we persist in opposing the growing use of armed drones

Campaigners protest outside RAF Waddington, October 2018

Over the past two weeks, campaigners have been in New York taking part in meetings at the UN urging diplomats to control the proliferation and use of armed drones.  Drone Wars UK was one of the more than 50 organisations signing a joint statement released to coincide with the meetings.  Here in the UK, despite freezing wet weather, campaigners also held a protest at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire calling for an end to the growing use of armed drones. Read more

Watching, Killing: The Evolution of RAF Drone Warfare in the 21st Century’ – Dr Peter Lee

Dr Peter Lee

Anyone who has conducted interviews with around 60 Reaper drone crew members and given evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones will have learned a thing or two about the Royal Air Force’s armed drone programme.  Step forward Dr Peter Lee, a former Air Force chaplain now Director of Security and Risk Research at Portsmouth University, who over the past few years has been undertaking a detailed study into the human dimension of RAF Reaper drone operations.  Dr Lee recently lectured at the Royal Aeronautical Society about his research and his forthcoming book on the RAF’s drone community. Read more

Of crimes and misdemeanours – Part II

edw-fourIn January 2015 four anti-drone protesters (Gary ‘Eagle Spits’ Eagling, Katha Karcher, Penny Walker and myself) entered RAF Waddington in order to disrupt on-going British drone operation in Iraq and Syria.  We knew that our presence would trigger a security alert that would put the base on ‘lockdown’ which (in the words of an RAF witness at our trial) meant that personnel “were unable to go about their normal duties bringing the effectiveness of the station to a minimum.” Read more

Cameron further commits the UK to drone wars

David Cameron visits RAF Waddington and Coningsby - Credit BBC Radio Lincolnshire
David Cameron visits RAF Waddington and Coningsby – Credit BBC Radio Lincolnshire

A year after the UK doubled its drone fleet David Cameron visited RAF Waddington today to signal further commitment to – and spending on – drones and special forces.  The Prime Minster told the media that he had asked Defence Chiefs to look at how to do more to counter the threat posed by ISIS including spending more on “spy planes, drones and Special Forces.”  Cameron insisted that “in the last 5 years, I have seen just how vital these assets are in keeping us safe.”   He also, according to reports, suggested that the new Aircraft Carrier, Queen Elizabeth could be used to deploy drones in the future. Read more