The numbers of hours flown by UK remotely piloted air systems (RPAS) and unmanned air systems (UAS) in Afghanistan, as at
|Flying h ours (to the nearest hundred)|
|Period (inclusive)||Reaper RPAS||Hermes 450 UAS||Desert Hawk 3 UAS|
|January to June 2011||5,600||6,300||2,500|
Reaper, operated by the Royal Air Force, is the UK's only armed RPAS. It entered operational service in October 2007 in Afghanistan. The primary role of the Reaper system operated by the UK remains intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance but they have had the capability to employ air-to-ground weapons since May 2008. The numbers of weapons used by the Reaper remotely piloted air system in Afghanistan are shown in the following table.
|Period (inclusive)||Number of weapons used|
|May 2008 to December 2008||29|
|January 2009 to December 2009||46|
|January 2010 to December 2010||73|
|January 2011 to 4 July 2011||30|
Use of force remains closely regulated and the avoidance of civilian casualties is paramount. We carefully select the type of weapon in every engagement to ensure the most appropriate munition is used to deliver the required effect, while minimising the risk to civilians.