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Unmanned Air Vehicles

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL3117, tabled on 24 November 2014

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the Birmingham Policy Commission's report The Security Impact of Drones; and whether they will make a statement on a national policy on the use of lethal drones.

Answered on

3 December 2014

We have studied the Report, which is a useful contribution to discussion of issues around the use of armed drones.

The UK has repeatedly set out its policy position on the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), including at the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council. The UK’s fleet of armed RPAS are operated by highly trained Royal Air Force personnel in accordance with International Humanitarian Law and UK Rules of Engagement. The same strict Rules of Engagement that govern the use of conventional manned military aircraft also apply to RPAS, this includes robust criteria on establishing positive identification and requires commanders to do everything feasible to verify that the target is a military objective. The UK believes that existing international law sufficiently covers the use of RPAS, which are subject to the same legal considerations as other weapons systems.