Dozens of Australian RAAF pilots are operating drone strikes from the United Kingdom, Defence Department confirms for the first time
Australia’s Department of Defence has for the first time confirmed the total number of its pilots deployed to the United Kingdom on a secretive mission to remotely operate British armed drones, including lethal flights over the Middle East.
- 32 ADF personnel are currently embedded in “unmanned aerial system units” with the British RAF
- Researchers reported Australian RAAF pilots have flown drones over Syria and Iraq
- They say Australians were called in to fix a pilot shortage
In a Freedom of Information disclosure, the department reveals 32 ADF personnel are currently embedded in “unmanned aerial system units” in the UK, while one other is working in the United States.
Details of their deployment are closely guarded, but in 2020 British researchers reported that Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) pilots had flown American-made MQ-9A Reaper drones over Syria and Iraq for Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF), as had private contractors.
The first public disclosure in Britain that…