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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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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
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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.

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MoD defends its use of drones in Afghanistan

The Ministry of Defence has defended its use of drones in Afghanistan, which it says have saved the lives of countless military personnel and civilians.

UK Reaper aircraft are piloted by highly trained professional military pilots who adhere strictly to the same laws of armed conflict and are bound by the same clearly defined rules of engagement which apply to traditionally manned RAF aircraft.

– Ministry of Defence spokesman

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  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.

Doubled armed drones fleet to be operated from Lincolnshire

This is a US Air Force Predator Drone Credit: PA

The UK will double the number of armed RAF drones in Afghanistan, taking the number to 10.

The new aircraft will be operated remotely from Lincolnshire.

The drones which are also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are aircrafts without a human pilot on board.

The pilots based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire will fly the five recently-bought unmanned aerial vehicles from the ground.

For more on this story see the ITV National News website.