UK drone squadron has no drones — Analysis

The 216 Squadron of the Royal Air Force hasn’t carried out any trials and has only four full-time personnel, a campaign group has revealed

According to the UK, it is the drone testing squadron. “futuristic and ambitious” vision of the Royal Air Force (RAF) has no drones and hasn’t carried out any trials since its reactivation more than two years ago, The Telegraph has reported. This article refers to a reply from The Ministry of Defence regarding freedom of information requests by Drone Wars UK.

The response stated that 216 Squadron only has four personnel full-time, but the unit makes use of reservists.

Chris Cole (founder of Drone Wars UK), a campaign group calling for more transparency in the public’s use of drones, filed the request. His inquiry came under the Freedom of Information Act, which provides access to information held by the UK’s public authorities.

“216 Squadron has not conducted any UAV tests since it was reactivated on 1 April 2020… At the time you requested, there were no UAVs in the inventory at 216 Squadron. This means that the answer to the third part of your request was ‘zero’,”It was the answer.

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Nonetheless, in 2021, speaking at the Global Air Chiefs’ Conference, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston touted 216 Squadron, saying that it has proven the “disruptive and innovative utility of swarming drones.”

“We have been focused on confusing and overwhelming adversary air defenses but we are already contemplating new disruptive missions that I will leave to your imagination,”The air marshal said that at the time.

Cole, for his part, stated that “defense companies and politicians repeatedly overpromise results and underestimate costs while giving less and less information about military programs.”

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