Ministry of Defence in talks to increase the amount of UK airspace to fly remotely piloted weapons The British military now has 500 drones and has been looking for ways to increase the amount of UK airspace in which to fly some of them, the Guardian can reveal. The expansion of the fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is in line with the Ministry of Defence’s ambition for a third of the Royal Air Force to consist of remotely piloted aircraft by 2030. But the disclosure will dismay campaigners who have raised ethical and legal concerns over UAVs, which have been used extensively in Afghanistan, and by the CIA to target Taliban and al-Qaida leaders across the border in Pakistan
British military has 500 drones
RAF’s unmanned Reaper aircraft had been operated from Creech airforce base in Nevada, but missions from Lincolnshire began this week Remotely controlled armed drones used to target insurgents in Afghanistan have been operated from the UK for the first time, the Ministry of Defence said on Thursday. Missions of the missile-carrying Reaper aircraft began from a newly built headquarters at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire earlier this week – five years after the MoD bought the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor and attack the Taliban.
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UK starts controlling drones in Afghanistan from British soil
Ministry of Defence releases figures for crashes, breakdowns and missing vehicles, including loss of half of Hermes 450 fleet Almost 450 drones operated by the British military have crashed, broken down or been lost in action during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last five years, figures reveal. The Ministry of Defence has disclosed for the first time the five Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems used in the conflicts and the number that have perished due to pilot error, technical faults or the undesirability of retrieving them from hostile areas. The figures highlight the military’s increasing reliance on technologies that are regarded as a way of minimising risks to frontline troops.
Nearly 450 British military drones lost in Iraq and Afghanistan