The APPG on drones made a submission to the Defence Select Committee’s inquiry into Remotely Piloted Air Systems – current and future UK use. The full submission can be downloaded: appg-submission-on-the-use-of-drones.pdf.
The APPG’s submission focused on the following issues:
(a) A lack of transparency and accountability about the use of drones by the UK Government particularly in relation to:
- the poor recording of the status and numbers of those killed and injured in drone strikes;
- the limited consideration of the psychological impact of drones on operators and those living in affected areas;
- the broader relationship between the achievement of the UK’s military and diplomatic objectives and drone use.
(b) Concerns about the shape of the US-UK relationship and drone warfare with particular reference to:
- Operation of US drones from UK soil;
- Citizenship stripping.
The inquiry’s terms of reference are:
Concept of Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS)
Nomenclature – what do we mean when we talk about Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and associated terms?
Current utility and dispersal
- For what purposes are RPAS used currently?
- What RPAS capabilities do the UK military and intelligence communities currently possess or operate?
- What governance and oversight arrangements are in place for the use of RPAS in the UK and overseas?
- What lessons have been learnt from RPAS operations in Afghanistan, and elsewhere (including present and planned weapons), and how will this enable the future development of doctrine on their use?
- How dependent is the UK RPAS programme on technology, training and operational support from the USA?
- What additional capabilities will the UK seek to develop from now to 2020?
- What current and prospective partnership working on RPAS is the UK engaged in?
- What governance and oversight arrangements are in place for such programmes?
- What are the associated costs?
- What constraints exist on the use of RPAS in the UK and overseas?
- What air worthiness and certification requirements apply?
- What restrictions apply to insertion into civil airspace?
Ethical and legal issues
- What ethical and legal issues arise from the use of RPAS?
- What governance and accountability arrangements are in place for UK operated RPAS?