UK: The United Kingdom has received its final five General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles and will be transporting them into theatre in the near future, according to the Ministry of Defense. The delivery brings to 10 the number of Reapers fielded in Afghanistan by the UK Royal Air Force (RAF), with the type expected to remain in the country as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform following the cessation of combat operations at the end of 2014.
The RAF has flown five Reapers out of Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan since 2007. Initially operated by 39 Squadron out of Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, these platforms are also controlled out of RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire by 39 Squadron and the newly re-constituted 13 Squadron. Despite being unmanned, the UK's Reapers are governed by the same rules of engagement as those applied to manned combat aircraft.