‘More clarity needed’ around ‘secretive’ UK drones programme

MPs defend the UK military’s controversial “drones” programme, saying pilots are not “video-gaming ‘warrior geeks'”, and call for more clarity around their secretive use.

BAE Systems potential concept model of an unmanned combat system, also known as a drone, at the Farnborough Airshow

The House of Commons Defence Committee said that more needs to be done to build “public confidence” in the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), in a report released on Tuesday.

One of the key justifications for the use of drones is that it keeps service personnel safely away from the battlefield, but this has also created concerns that pilot may be detached from reality.

‘Warrior geeks’

Chairman of the defence committee, James Arbuthnot, said: “It is very clear that UK aircrews (pictured, below) are experienced professional personnel with a clear purpose and keen understanding of the rules of engagement which govern their operations.

“These are no video gaming ‘warrior geeks’ as some would portray them. Despite being remote from the battle space they exhibit a strong sense of connection to the life and death decisions they are sometimes required to take.”

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