Defence written question – answered on 5th September 2013.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of drone missions undertaken by the UK in Afghanistan in each year resulted in the release of a missile.

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

UK forces in Afghanistan operate unmanned aircraft systems to provide Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR), with Hermes 450, Desert Hawk III, T-Hawk, Black Hornet and Reaper systems. Reaper is the only armed system; the following table demonstrates that the majority of flights are also wholly in the ISTAR role, with only a small proportion resulting in one or more weapons being fired.

  Number of sorties flown Number of sorties including a weapon (single or multiple) release Proportion of sorties including a weapon release (%)
2008 296 14 5
2009 431 33. 8
2010 757 51 7
2011 903 73 8
2012 892 92 10
2013 (to 31 July) 466 36 8
Total 3,745 299 8

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