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Unmanned Air Vehicles

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 127305, tabled on 7 February 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the Government has a published legal framework and guidance on its use of lethal force using armed drones (a) in recognised conflict zones and (b) outside conflict zones.

Answered on

20 February 2018

The use of military force, regardless of whether it is delivered by manned or unmanned aircraft or any other military equipment, is governed by applicable UK and International Law. The UK Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict sets out UK practice and is available at the following internet address: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jsp-383-the-joint-service-manual-of-the-law-of-armed-conflict-2004-edition. As the Government has stated previously there is no separate policy or legal guidance on the use of force outside of an armed conflict. Rather it has a policy to protect the UK and its citizens against both armed attacks and imminent threats of armed attack. In implementing this policy it may draw on a wide range of options including, in extremis, the use of lethal force. As such a decision to use lethal force outside of an armed conflict would be conducted on a case by case basis.