UK operations in Iraq/Syria:  New reporting methods means less transparency & understanding

Days before the parliamentary recess Defence Secretary Michael Fallon slipped out a written statement on UK military operations against ISIS.  Overshadowed by the uproar around the revelations from Reprieve that UK pilots embedded in US forces were already undertaking air strikes in Syria in direct contravention of parliamentary authority, the statement reveals two important changes to UK drone operations.  Firstly that the UK is changing the way it calculates and records air strikes in Iraq to fall in line with the US methodology (or as Fallon chose to  put it “the Coalition method”).  Secondly through what Michael Fallon calls “collaborative force management and sharing arrangements”, the UK and the US will once again apparently be sharing drones. Read more

Mystery over UK’s armed drones – MoD says some in storage in UK while Defence Secretary says all 10 are “out on service”

M_Fallon with journalists - France June2015
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon with journalists yesterday ahead of meeting with Minister Le Drian.   Photo: British Embassy

 

Speaking to journalists yesterday before meeting with his French counterpart, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told journalists that all ten of the UK’s armed Reapers were “out on service, each one of them.”  Previously the MoD has told Drone Wars UK and others that while some Reapers were undertaking combat operations in Iraq and Syria others were in storage in the UK although it refused to detail the numbers. Read more

Finally revealed: UK drone strikes in Afghanistan by province

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.

UK_Drone_Strikes_Afghanistan_provinces2 Read more

UK’s armed drones now in Middle East and UK say MoD

reaper being assembled at Kandahar (ops update 26 dec 2010)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.”

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Drones in Iraq and Syria: What we know and what we don’t

Over the past 3 months US, UK and other forces have carried out airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria using manned aircraft and drones.  There is little public available information as yet about the impact of these strikes on the ground .  Here’s is what we know – and don’t know – so far.

airstirke-raqqaBackground

On August 7, President Obama ordered what he called “limited strikes” against ISIS in order to protect American personnel in Iraq.  At the same time he stated that he would “not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq”.  US airstrikes began that next day and initiated another US military intervention in Iraq that has subsequently been named Operation Inherent Resolve. Read more