Skip to main content

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when he expects the final Reaper unmanned air system to be delivered; (290783)

(2) when he expects the third Reaper unmanned air system to be cleared to fly in US airspace;

(3) how many flight training hours have been purchased from the United States Air Force to train Royal Air Force crews on the Reaper unmanned air system; and what the cost was of that purchase.

The final Reaper unmanned air vehicles are due to be delivered in 2010. I am withholding further details as disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

We are delivering the training of UK Reaper mission crews through a combination of places on the US Air Force Reaper Formal Training Unit and the UK Reaper Operational Conversion Course based at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. I am withholding further details of the support provided by the US Air Force as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.

In the longer term, the UK is exploring the viability of basing and flying a UK Reaper unmanned air vehicle in US airspace to support UK mission crew training. We are, however, in the very early stages of this complex process and it is too early to comment on when a UK Reaper unmanned air vehicle might require or receive clearance to fly in US airspace.