Information tribunal dismisses Drone Wars appeal over British drone secrecy

An information tribunal has upheld the MoD’s decision to refuse to release the number of British armed drones deployed against ISIS and their location, despite such information being released by the UK about its ‘manned’ aircraft.

In the just released open judgement (a closed judgement has also been produced but will not been made available to us), the tribunal accepted that there was clear public interest in the information Drone Wars sought as both parliament and the public could then ascertain if Read more

“It was incessant.” Former RAF Reaper pilot speaks to Drone Wars

RAF pilot operating Reaper drone from Creech air force base in Nevada

Drone Wars UK is publishing an exclusive interview with former British Reaper drone pilot Justin Thompson (a pseudonym), who for three years flew RAF Reapers over Afghanistan while based at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.

When we met earlier this year, Justin confided that he was a reader of the Drone Wars blog and so I asked if he would be willing to be interviewed.  After thinking about it for a few weeks he agreed on two conditions. Read more

500 days of British drone operations in Iraq and Syria

Today (4 March 2016) marks 500 days since British Reaper drones first deployed over Iraq (22 Oct 2014) and then Syria in their operations against ISIS.  In that time, according to our analysis of the MoD updates on air strikes against ISIS (Daesh), there have been 250 British drone strikes in Iraq and 17 in Syria  out of a total of 796 British air strikes (not including the Reyaad Khan strike on Aug 21 which MoD insists was not part of Operation Shader). Read more

UK increases drone missions in Syria

Armed RAF Reaper Aircraft Approaches Kandahar Airfield, AfghanistanThe MoD has released new data on UK drone operations in Iraq and Syria to Drone Wars in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Figures for the second quarter of 2015 show a significant rise in the number of Reaper drone flights in Syria since the beginning of the year.  In January just over 10% of UK Reaper drone sorties took place in Syrian airspace.  In June 2015 this had risen to 40%. 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