February 22, 2021 4.53 pm This story is over 16 months old

Campaigners oppose US drone flights from RAF Waddington

It is set to begin in July

Campaigners are calling for US military drone flights planned to take place over Lincolnshire to be cancelled on safety grounds.

American company General Atomics is believed to be planning experimental flights of a new SkyGuardian drone over Lincolnshire, taking off from RAF Waddington.

UK Drone Watch, the campaign group leading the opposition, have said the flights are a breach of safety regulations, due to the RAF base being surrounded by houses, schools and businesses.

General Atomics confirmed in February that the RAF had acquired one of its SkyGuardian drones and would be using it for a series of operations this year.

These operations are set to begin in July at RAF Waddington if plans are in fact approved, to showcase the maritime capability of the drone.

The campaigners say that General Atomics could make billions of dollars from sales of the drones if they are approved for flight in Lincolnshire.

They also claim that the RAF have yet to explain how safety concerns will be addressed, as well as how it will operate in the British airspace.

Tim Street, UK Drone Watch Campaign Coordinator, said: “General Atomics should not be allowed to use the UK’s airspace as a glorified showroom just so they can sell armed drones to US allies.

“Residents of Lincolnshire need to know the risks of large military drones being flown over their homes and workplaces.

“It’s vital that the government’s drone’s policy is subject to democracy, transparency and accountability to prevent abuses of power.”

General Atomics and RAF Waddington have been contacted for comment.