Prime Minister urges defence chiefs to plough more cash into RAF Reaper drones to combat IS threat
British Prime Minister David Cameron has urged UK defence chiefs to increase spending on military drones to help combat the purported threat of Islamic State (IS).
Cameron’s actions come after last week’s budget outlined plans to spend 2 percent of the UK’s GDP on defence until 2020.
Cameron will today visit RAF Waddington, where the RAF’s No. 39 Squadron drone flies missions with US-made Reaper drones over Iraq and Syria.
During the visit Cameron will say: “Now we know how much we will spend, what matters next is how we spend it. I have tasked the defence and security chiefs to look specifically at how we do more to counter the threat posed by Isil [Islamic State] and Islamist extremism.
“This could include more spy planes, drones and special forces. In the last five years, I have seen just how vital these assets are in keeping us safe.”
The UK and Europe does not have its own military drone program, but instead relies on purchasing drones from the US. There are a handful of ongoing projects within the EU, mostly spearheaded by defence giants such as BAE Systems, but as of 2015 Europe is still dependant on North America for its combat drones.
Cameron said: “As prime minister, I will always put the national security of our country first. That’s why it is right that we spend 2 percent of our GDP on defence, because this investment helps to keep us safe.”
On Monday July 6, a Reaper drone piloted from RAF Waddington got a confirmed kill on an alleged IS vehicle in Syria. The footage was released on July 9 by the Ministry of Defence.