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Drones keep our soldiers 'away from battlefield'

The attacks by soldiers in Lincolnshire operating planes three and a half thousand miles away in Afghanistan need to be less secretive according to a new government report into the UK's use of armed drones.

Campaigners argue controllers at RAF Waddington are dangerously detached from reality,. But MPs say remotely-operated aircraft keep our service personnel away from the battlefield. Emma Wilkinson reports.

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Call for more drone pilots

A lifesize model of WatchKeeper (WK) and Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS) at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. Credit: Press Association

The Chair of the Defence Select Committee is calling for more pilots of drones, which are operated from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. The aircraft has been praised for its work in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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  1. Central

Hundreds start drone protest march to RAF Waddington

Crowds of peace campaigners gather in Lincoln for start of anti-drone protest march Credit: ITV Central

Hundreds of peace campaigners have started marching from Lincoln to RAF Waddington, in protest of a new fleet of armed drones being based in the UK for the first time.

Protesters preparing their banners before the march takes place Credit: ITV Central

The RAF began remotely operating its Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles earlier this week from the airbase in Lincolnshire.

Previously operated from a United States Air Force base in Nevada, the aircraft are used to support coalition ground forces in Afghanistan.

Banners are laid out at South Park in Lincoln before the march takes place Credit: ITV Central

Members of the Stop The War Coalition, CND, The Drone Campaign Network and War on Want are estimated to walk the four mile route in around two hours.

It's expected to take the protesters two hours to walk the four mile route from Lincoln to RAF WAddington. Credit: ITV Central
  1. National

War protester: 'Now is the time to ban killer drones'

Ahead of a planned protest outside an RAF base today against the UK's use of armed drones in Afghanistan, War on Want senior campaigns officer Rafeef Ziadah said:

Drones, controlled far away from conflict zones, ease politicians' decisions to launch military strikes and order extrajudicial assassinations, without democratic oversight or accountability to the public.

"Now is the time to ban killer drones - before it is too late.

  1. National

Anti-drones protest set to be staged at RAF base

Anti-war protesters are set to gather outside an RAF base today to voice their opposition to the UK's use of armed drones in Afghanistan.

Members of the Stop The War Coalition, CND, The Drone Campaign Network and War on Want will march from Lincoln to nearby RAF Waddington.

An RAF MQ-9 Reaper Credit: MOD

The RAF began remotely operating its Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles deployed to Afghanistan from the Lincolnshire airbase earlier this week.

In a statement, the RAF said it had started supporting the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan ground troops with "armed intelligence and surveillance missions" remotely piloted from RAF Waddington.

The aircraft were previously operated from a United States Air Force base in Nevada.

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