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Unmanned Air Vehicles

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles deployed by the Royal Air Force are fitted with precision munitions. (248631)

RAF Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles are capable of carrying 5001b laser guided bombs and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. The actual weapons fitted during each operational deployment can and does vary and will be tailored to meet the operational requirement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2009, Official Report, column 1053W, on unmanned air vehicles, what drone systems were procured prior to the purchase of the Reaper system in the last 10 years; and at what cost. (250852)

I have taken the term “drone” to mean Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) rather than aerial target drones. The information requested is contained in the following table.

Year of procurement


Cost (£ million)


Desert Hawk 1






Desert Hawk 1+



Desert Hawk III


In addition to the systems listed above, the Hermes 450 UAS was declared In Service in July 2007. The Hermes 450 is not owned by MOD but is provided through a service provision contract with a Thales/Elbit consortium.

The ongoing Watchkeeper tactical UAS procurement programme, worth about £900 million, began in 2005.