RAF Reaper drones to be remotely controlled from UK

Reaper unmanned aircraft The government has announced the UK will increase the number of Reapers to 10

Related Stories

A new squadron of unmanned aircraft operating in Afghanistan will be controlled for the first time from a base in the UK.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton said the new squadron of drones, known as Reapers, would be based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

Reapers, which have high-tech sensors and laser-guided weapons, are currently controlled by RAF crews in the US.

Air Chief Marshal Dalton said the move would make the force "more efficient".

He said: "This transition will see us bring Reaper mission control to the UK, make more efficient and effective use of our resources in exploiting this growing capability and enable the operation of significantly more combat intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance aircraft over Afghanistan 24 hours a day."

Reapers are used to spy on insurgents and are almost undetectable from the ground.

The Reapers will take on squadron number XIII after the current unit, flying Tornados from RAF Marham in Norfolk, is disbanded.

'Fantastic contribution'

XIII Squadron was originally formed in 1915.

Air Chief Marshal Dalton said: "The Royal Air Force is today delivering air power operations in Afghanistan, Libya and the Falkland Islands and, as XIII Squadron's Tornados have shown, making a fantastic contribution to the very positive progress in the military campaigns in all these locations.

"I am confident that XIII Squadron's reputation and distinguished history will be carried forward as it transitions to be a part of our remotely piloted force employing the Reaper over Afghanistan."

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: "Reaper aircraft are providing valuable support to our frontline troops in Afghanistan.

"We are committed to providing the best available equipment to our armed forces.

"The formation of this new squadron follows our doubling of the Reaper capability to 10 aircraft, which represents an increased investment of £135m."

"This extra squadron will help us get the best out of this valuable armed reconnaissance aircraft," added Dr Fox.

How drones work

More on This Story

Related Stories

More UK stories



  • FridgeCool customer

    The village that has just got its first fridge

  • Lincoln Perkins (in the middle of the image) carried Churchill's coffin with seven other menNear miss

    How pallbearers almost dropped Churchill's coffin

  • Josef Mengele in SS uniformThe twins of Auschwitz

    How a Nazi doctor experimented on identical siblings

  • Alok'Red market'

    The desperate patients in India turning to illegal blood donors

  • Bank House, 27 King Street, LeedsIn pictures

    Some of the office buildings new to the National Heritage List

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.