To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, on how many occasions UK forces have used a US Air Force Reaper Remotely Piloted Air System in Afghanistan in each year; and whether each such use was due to serviceability issues with RAF Reaper Remotely Piloted Air Systems.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
25 November 2014
The Rt Hon Mark Francois:
The number of sorties in which RAF crews have utilised a USAF Reaper to undertake a UK Sortie in Afghanistan for each year between 2008 and 2014 is given in the following table.
Number of United Kingdom Sorties utilising a USAF Air Vehicle
2014-January to August Inclusive
For the majority of occasions this was due to short term unserviceability or routine scheduled servicing of a UK Reaper. The increased usage in 2012 was due to an increase in ISAF tasking, coinciding with a period of reduced UK airframe availability. This resulted in reduced resilience to cover short-term unserviceabilities from within the UK Reaper force. The increased usage in 2014 was due to further increased ISAF tasking utilising the crews from the UK Additional Reaper Capability. The additional UK aircrews and ISAF requirement to start the new task lines were in place prior to the additional UK airframes being prepared for operations in theatre. Consequently, while the new UK airframes were temporarily unavailable for tasking, the additional ISAF task lines with UK crews were flown utilising USAF aircraft.