UK Drone Strike Stats

This page contains statistical information about the use of armed drones by UK forces mainly obtained through Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.

Iraq/Syria operations (Operation Shader)


Note: ‘air strike’ is a flexible term that can denote 1 weapon aimed at 1 target or multiple weapons launched from different aircraft at different targets within  the same area. In addition the UK changed its traditional way of calculating air strikes in favour of adopting US methodology which leads to a much lower total, see  Michael Fallon Statement on UK adoption of US methodology for calculating number of strikes.

Sources:  FoI responses from MoD to Drone Wars UK:   See full list here

Afghanistan  (Operation Herrick)

The first UK Reaper weapon launch in Afghanistan took place at the end of May 2008.  The final UK Reaper operation in Afghanistan took place on 15 November 2014 (see FoI response here).




Weapon releases by UK Reapers in Afghanistan by month.

UK-drone-weapon-launches-xmonth-Afghan - final 


Figures from FoI responses – see here, here and here.  Note: after a review MoD have corrected previous figures issued.


Reports of UK drone strikes in Weekly RAF Operational Updates
(Jan 2010 – Oct 2012)

This is a list of UK drones strikes in Afghanistan as reported in the RAF’s Weekly Updates (for more details see: ‘UK Drone Strikes: Peaking Behind the Curtain’)   In September 2012 the Weekly Updates ceased and the originals  were removed from the web.

Click here for a pdf copy of this list Last updated 12/11/12


The MoD has without explanation ceased updating the weekly RAF Operations Update page since 15th Sept 2012. We were hoping this was just a temporary blip but it is now two months since the last update. We have seen copies of the RAF update elsewhere but they have not included any information about drone strikes. We will attempt to find other sources but for the moment it looks like there is now going to be even less information about UK drone strikes in the public domain than previously.

Report dated No. of armed strikes Weapon used Fatalities reported Target or other information reported Reported strike No. Total UK strikes
18/08/12 ? ? On one mission this week, the Reaper crew were tasked to undertake a reconnaissance of a compound suspected of being used by insurgents. Almost immediately, the crew observed a large group leaving the compound including two men who could be seen to be carrying a heavy weapon. Having identified that all members of the group were insurgents, and that there were no civilians in the vicinity, the crew were authorised to carry out an attack. OU112
11/08/12 1 1 On one mission this week, the Reaper crew observed an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) emplacer in the act of burying IEDs in a track with the clear intention of killing anybody, military or civilian, using the track. Having assessed that there was no risk of civilian casualties or damage to civilian buildings, the crew launched a Hellfire missile killing the insurgent. OU111
04/08/12 ? ? During one of these missions, the Reaper was tasked with searching for a known insurgent riding a motorcycle. Having identified the insurgent, the crew were given authority to attack but elected not to do so as they had observed him entering a Bazaar. The Reaper crew followed this individual for a further 7 hours before carrying out a successful attack. OU110
22/07/12 1 ? During one mission this week, the Reaper was tasked with carrying out reconnaissance of some compounds that had been used by the Taliban as cover when firing on International Security Assistance Force patrols. During this reconnaissance the crew observed some insurgents in the act of firing on coalition troops. Having identified, in conjunction with other reconnaissance assets, that the compounds were uninhabited, and that, therefore, there was no risk of civilian casualties, and that the insurgents had moved to the cover of a derelict building, the crew fired a Hellfire missile which killed the insurgents. OU109
08/07/12 1 0 On one sortie this week a Reaper crew observed positively identified insurgents with various weapons riding a motorcycle. Due to concerns regarding collateral damage the crew delayed the release of the weapon system until the insurgents were clear of the buildings. At this point the insurgents unexpectedly stopped within the vicinity of what was identified as an occupied area. Realising the risk of potential collateral damage the crew diverted the weapon to impact in a safe area. Later assessment confirmed that no injury to individuals or damage to infrastructure had occurred. OU108
01/07/12 1 ? On one sortie this week the crew observed three insurgents in the act of digging in an IED intended to kill and maim personnel of the International Security Assistance Force, Afghan National Security Forces or local civilians engaged in their normal daily life. After intensive examination of the surrounding area to ensure that there was absolutely no risk to civilians or property the crew successfully attacked the insurgents with a low yield air to ground missile. OU107
24/06/12 ? ? ? There have been a number of occasions this week that crews were called on to carry out attacks on insurgents who were carrying out their nefarious activities. In all cases, the crew undertook extensive examination of the surrounding areas to ensure that there were no habitations or civilians carrying out their routine daily activity before carrying out the attack. In one case, two insurgents were tracked for over two and a half hours as they moved around on a motorcycle with a machine gun repositioning several times in an attempt to attack patrolling troops. Only when there was absolutely no risk to civilians or property did the crew successfully attack the insurgents with a low yield air to ground weapon. OU106
16/06/12 1 1 During one sortie this week, the Squadron were tasked with providing support to an ISAFO patrol who were coming under fire from insurgents. Having assessed that the position chosen by the insurgent meant that there was a risk of civilian casualties the crew elected not to fire at his position. The insurgent subsequently repositioned to continue his attack away from the occupied buildings and the crew then fired a low yield weapon killing him. OU105
31/05/12 MoD gives figure for total number of weapons released from UK reapers ass 281 281
12/05/12 1 ? ? During one mission this week, the Reaper was operating in the vicinity of Nad-E Ali and was tasked to assist Friendly Forces at a Check Point who had come under fire from insurgents. The Reaper crew observed that the insurgents had moved from their initial position and were in the process of setting up a new position to resume firing at the Check Point. Having assessed that there was no risk of civilian casualties or damage to property, a low yield weapon was fired killing the insurgents OU104
14/04/12 1 ? ? Once again this week, the Reaper crew have shown restraint electing to divert a Hellfire missile in flight away from a targeted insurgent after he entered a compound to explode in a nearby field rather than risk damage to the buildings in the compound. OU103
07/04/12 1 ? ? On one mission this week, the Reaper tracked an insurgent carrying a machine gun on a motorbike for one and a half hours. During this time, the Reaper was authorised to attack the insurgent and launched a hellfire missile. However, just after the launch, the motorbike rider changed direction passing close to a group of compounds and the Reaper crew, concluding that the risk of damage to the compounds was high, redirected the missile to a nearby field where it exploded harmlessly. Later in the same sortie, the Reaper was again cleared to attack the insurgent but the crew again decided that there was a risk of damage to innocent civilians and their property and decided not to attack. OU102
03/04/12 1 ? ? On one mission this week, the Reaper was tasked with tracking a known insurgent travelling on a motorbike in the region of Lashkar Gah. Over the course of 5 hours the Reaper tracked the insurgent and it was only once there was no risk to civilians that the aircraft was authorised to carry out a successful strike. OU101
26/03/12 1 ? ? The Reaper aircraft have also been involved in kinetic activity this week with one mission involving the aircraft tracking an insurgent for over 3 hours before the conditions were right for a successful kinetic strike. OU101
17/03/12 1 ? ? The Reaper was …. re-tasked to track another known insurgent team with a heavy machine gun …. Having been cleared to strike, the Reaper crew elected not to, due to the risk of collateral damage or civilian casualties as they went inside a lean-to. After approximately 1 hour an insurgent left the lean-to with a machine gun and progressed towards a derelict compound. The Reaper crew were cleared to attack and carried out the successful strike. OU100
03/03/12 1 ? ? During one event this week the Reaper crew were ‘cross-cued’ by another platform to continue observation of suspected insurgent activity. After a period of time muzzle flashes were observed by the Reaper crew and coalition forces reported they had come under fire from the location under observation. Satisfied that these insurgents were targeting the coalition forces, the Reaper crew successfully engaged the insurgents ensuring no risk of further casualties or collateral damage. OU99
25/02/12 1 ? ? Reaper crew undertaking a prolonged operation when it was cued on to a ‘high value’ insurgent who was transporting weapons north of Lashkar Gah. He was then joined by a two further insurgents. Over a period of approximately 8 hours the Reaper crew maintained ‘eyes on’ before eventually seizing the opportunity to strike when there was no risk of civilian casualties or collateral damage. OU98 248
18/02/12 1 ? ? Reaper had been undertaking a prolonged operation when it was cued on to an insurgent who had engaged coalition ground forces Crew tracked insurgent until he had made his way to open ground before being engaged OU97
18/02/12 1 ? ? (No detail given for second strike mentioned in report) OU96
11/02/12 1 ? ? Kinetic strike carried out against a number of insurgents who were preparing an attack against coalition ground forces OU95
18/12/11 1 ? 1 Reaper crew carried out a successful kinetic strike against a known insurgent OU94
11/12/11 1 ? ? Attack against insurgents who were about to engage friendly forces OU93
04/12/11 1 ? ? Successful kinetic strike against armed insurgents observed preparing for an attack OU92
27/11/11 7 ? ? Targeting of insurgents engaging friendly forces with a variety of weapons. Further strikes were carried out against enemy fighters undertaking emplacement of IEDs OU85 – 91
20/11/11 5 ? ? Reaper crew carry out 5 strikes against insurgents OU80-84
20/11/11 1 ? 2 Successfully engaged 2 insurgents carrying out IED emplacement OU79
05/11/11 1 ? 2 Targeted 2 insurgents participating in the production and storage of home-made explosives destined for used in IEDs. OU78
05/11/11 1 ? ? A number of insurgents have been prevented from engaging coalition forces with a variety of weapons OU77
30/10/11 1 Hellfire 7 A single Hellfire was used to great effect on a group of insurgents which resulted in seven enemy forces being killed in action OU76
23/10/11 1 ? 1 One attack resulted in 1 insurgent being killed with a further 2 wounded OU75
23/10/11 1 ? 3 A further 3 insurgents being killed and one injured. OU74
09/10/11 1 2 x Hellfire 4 A precision strike with 2 Hellfire missiles successfully terminated the activity (testing of IED detonators) and 4 insurgents OU72-73
09/10/11 4 ? ? 4 further successful kinetic strikes OU68-71 200
25/09/11 3 ? ? 3 separate strikes, striking moving targets, some travelling at high speed OU65-67
18/09/11 1 Hellfire 2 West of Marjeh … Reaper crew spotted 2 insurgents planting an IED … Using a precision Hellfire missile, the Reaper crew attacked the insurgents, killing them both. OU64
11/09/11 1 Hellfire 2 Reaper crew fired a Hellfire missile at fleeing insurgents, hitting the speeding motorbike and killing both insurgents OU63
28/08/11 1 Hellfire 2 Near Marjeh 2 insurgents spotted preparing to attack an ISAF patrol … The Reaper crew launched a Hellfire missile, which killed both insurgents OU62
21/08/11 1 hellfire 2 US Marines from Task Force Leatherneck were about to come under attack from insurgents, a UK Reaper … launched a successful Hellfire missile strike, killing 2 insurgents and breaking up the attack OU61
14/08/11 1 Hellfire 4 Reaper crew tasked to engage 4 insurgents who had been spotted planting an IED beside a road in Helmand province. In a successful strike, they launched a single Hellfire missile, killing all 4 insurgents OU60
14/08/11 1 ? ? (No detail given for second strike mentioned in report) OU59
08/08/11 1 Hellfire 1 US Marines operating near Marjeh spotted 2 individuals acting suspiciously, the Reaper crew were task to investigate, quickly establishing that insurgents were planting an IED… launched a high-precision Hellfire missile, killing one insurgent and injuring the second OU58
08/08/11 1 ? ? (No detail given for second strike mentioned in report) OU57
17/07/11 1 Hellfire 1 Supporting US Marines east of Marjeh… Reaper fired Hellfire missiles onto a group of insurgents approaching a US battalion OU56
03/07/11 1 Hellfire ? A successful Hellfire engagement was completed when the insurgent returned to his original firing position OU55
03/07/11 1 ? 2 Insurgents moved into open ground enabling a precision weapon strike. A search conducted after the attack recovered one PK 7.62 mm machine gun and confirmed two insurgents killed OU54 178
26/06/11 1 Hellfire 2 Reaper crew were tasked to engage 2 armed insurgents… only firing a precision Hellfire missile to prevent an ambush once the insurgents were in open ground. The missile strike was successful OU53
18/06/11 1 Hellfire 2 Near Marjeh … The Reaper crew successfully engaged hostile insurgents with a Hellfire missile, using the weapon’s extreme precision and low yield to ensure that the two insurgents were the only casualties. OU52
12/06/11 1 Hellfire 0 A RAF Reaper crew had launched a Hellfire missile at a positively-identified insurgent, when the crew spotted 2 civilians, one of whom was identified as a child… Realising the danger the crew diverted the missile towards an area of scrub land where it detonated harmlessly, OU51
05/06/11 1 Hellfire ? Spotted attackers to the NE of Marjah, along with a second group, preparing to attack from a different direction. Identifying the clear threat to the US Marines, the Reaper crew successfully employed Hellfire missiles to engage the insurgents OU50
20/03/11 1 Hellfire and GBU-12 ? A Reaper deployed multiple Hellfire and GBU-12 weapons in support of Task Force LEATHERNECK (TFL) units during Op BACKBREAKER in Regional Command (East) towards the Afghanistan/Pakistan border OU48-49
Date:25/03/11 1 ? 6 “A UK Reaper was tasked to engage and destroy two pick up trucks. The strike resulted in the deaths of two insurgents and the destruction of a significant quantity of explosives being carried on the trucks. Sadly, four Afghan civilians were also killed and a further two Afghan civilians were injured.” MoD statement, Guardian 05/07/11
13/03/11 1 Hellfire 114P ? Reaper crew made the decision to deploy Hellfire AGM 114P missiles in self-defence of the US Marine Corps patrol OU47
19/12/10 5 ? ? Reapers have been used 5 times this week to prosecute precise and proportional attacks against insurgents conducting hostile acts against Afghan and ISAF troops OU42-46 148
05/12/10 1 Hellfire ? Significant operation was concluded with use of Hellfire direct fire missile OU41
28/11/10 1 ? ? Insurgents committing hostile acts against ANSF & ISAF forces OU40
21/11/10 1 ? ? Positively identified insurgent forces conducting hostile acts OU39
15/11/10 1 ? ? Kinetic events have been successfully concluded against improvised explosive device operations OU38
08/11/10 1 ? ? Kinetic events were authorized to support friendly ground forces who came under attack from enemy fire. OU37
31/10/10 1 ? ? In one notable event REAPER was authorized to engage insurgent IED emplacers OU36
17/10/10 1 ? ? RAF Reapers have been used to identify and destroy Home Made Explosive materials and Factories within urban areas with no collateral damage to other building or people, by using low yield precision guided weapons OU35 120
10/10/10 1 ? ? Reaper acquired, identified and, once authorized, successfully attacked armed insurgents committing hostile acts against ISAF troops. OU34
03/10/10 1 ? ? Kinetic events were authorized to support friendly ground forces who came under attack from effective enemy fire. After the enemy fire ceased no collateral damage was observed OU33
26/09/10 1 ? ? Explosive manufacturing facility successfully targeted OU32
26/09/10 1 ? ? (No detail given for second strike mentioned in report) OU31
26/09/10 1 ? ? (No detail given for third strike mentioned in report) OU30
19/09/10 1 Paveway ? Enemy forces observed firing at friendly forces OU29
30/08/10 1 Hellfire ? A Hellfire missile was targeted against an insurgent who was firing a weapon at friendly forces from a concealed firing position. OU28
22/08/10 1 Paveway ? Insurgents, who were about to fire on coalition troops, were successfully targeted using a 500lb bomb. OU27
15/08/10 1 Paveway ? Reaper successfully engaged an enemy force firing position located in a tree line using a 500lb GPS guided bomb OU26
08/08/10 1 2 x Hellfire ? Reaper successfully launched 2 Hellfire Missiles against an Enemy Forces firing position OU24-25
11/07/10 1 2 x Hellfire ? A Reaper fired 2 Hellfire missiles against an enemy forces firing point. OU22-23 97
06/07/10 1 Hellfire ? Reaper released a Hellfire missile against an IED emplacement team OU21
06/07/10 1 Paveway ? A 500lb GBU was also released against an insurgent weapons cache OU20
29/06/10 1 Hellfire ? Reaper released Hellfire missile against armed positively identified insurgents OU19
29/06/10 1 Hellfire ? Reaper released second Hellfire against an IED emplacement team OU18
30/05/10 1 Hellfire ? Reaper successfully delivered Hellfire missile against insurgents firing small arms against coalition forces OU17
30/05/10 1 Hellfire ? (No detail given for second strike mentioned in report) OU16
30/05/10 1 Hellfire ? (No detail given for third strike mentioned in report) OU15
23/05/10 1 Hellfire ? Reaper successfully delivered a Hellfire missile, which was targeted at Insurgents who were in the process of planting an IED. OU14
08/05/10 1 ? ? A Reaper successfully deployed munitions against the Taliban who were in the process of laying an IED OU13
25/04/10 1 ? ? Reaper successfully deployed a weapon against Insurgent who were planning an attack against friendly forces OU12
17/04/10 1 ? ? A Reaper successfully released a weapon against confirmed Insurgents OU11
10/04/10 1 ? 0 Reaper released weapon against fast-moving target, firing on friendly forces – however weapon diverted to avoid civilian casualties OU10
10/04/10 1 ? ? (No detail given for second strike mentioned in report) OU09
04/04/10 1 Paveway bomb ? Reaper successfully released a 500 lb precision guided bomb against active insurgents OU08
28/03/10 1 Hellfire ? Reaper operators observed an Insurgent firing on a Forward Operating Base. The Reaper successfully launched a Hellfire missile against the Insurgent OU07
21/03/10 1 Hellfire ? Reaper operators successfully launched a precision guided Hellfire missile against an insurgent sharpshooter observed firing on a Forward Operating Base OU06
20/02/10 1 Hellfire ? One successful Hellfire missile attack was made against an insurgent who was attacking a British Patrol with small arms fire OU05
13/02/10 1 Hellfire ? Successfully fired a Hellfire missile against insurgents who were firing with small arms on the patrol. OU04
06/02/10 1 Hellfire ? Successfully fired 1 Hellfire precision guided missile against insurgents who were attacking ground forces. OU03
23/01/10 1 Hellfire ? After detecting insurgents using a heavy machine gun, an aircraft employed a Hellfire missile and destroyed the weapon OU02
16/01/10 1 Hellfire 12 Reaper fired a Hellfire missile which killed 12 insurgents who were massing to attack a target OU01 75

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