Members of the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron from Indian Springs, Nev., perform pre-flight checks on the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle prior to a mission.
The UK military reportedly aims to double the size of its armed drone fleet in Afghanistan to ten by purchasing five US-made Reaper drones, which for the first time will be controlled from a UK base. The first five were controlled at US stations.The Royal Air Force (RAF) announced the expedited purchase of the US-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), with operations set to begin in six weeks, AFP reported. The drones will be flown and operated from a tech hub built 18 months ago in the British region of Waddington in Lincolnshire, a leap forward in technological prowess for the UK.
The other five drones the UK operates in Afghanistan were controlled from a US Air Force base in Nevada, and target suspected insurgents in Afghanistan’s southwest province of Helmand.
“The new squadron will have three control terminals at RAF Waddington, and the five aircraft will be based in Afghanistan,” an RAF spokesperson told the Guardian. “We will continue to operate the other Reapers from Creech though, in time, we will wind down operations there and bring people back to the UK.”
It is not known whether the drones will remain in Afghanistan following the NATO withdrawal in 2014. Read More
The United Kingdom parliamentarians have demanded the Obama administration to stop drone attacks on Pakistani soil.
The twelve parliamentarians in a letter written to the United States say that the Britain and Western countries are under threat‚ because of drone attacks‚ as the attacks provide justification of terrorist activities.
The letter adds innocent people are killed in drone attacks.
The parliamentarians say that the attacks are also creating hatred against the United States in people of Pakistan and they are harmful to sovereignty of Britain’s ally Pakistan.
Kevin Gosztola | FireDogLake
Fully armed Reaper UAV takes to skies of southern Afghanistan (photo: Defence Images)
Killing by remote control, the escalated use of drone warfare in countries, depends on people believing drones do not kill a large number of innocent civilians. It depends on people believing the program is indeed “precise” and rarely kills anybody other than members of al Qaeda and its affiliates or the Taliban. So, there is no incentive for countries to go to the trouble to count those killed by drones and verify that all killed were “terrorists,” “militants,” or a bad guy that needed to be eliminated.
Today, The Guardian reports on the United Kingdom’s increased reliance on drones to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. More than 280 laser-guided Hellfire missiles and bombs have been fired at “suspected insurgents.” Additionally, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) claims that only four Afghan civilians have been killed.