Not to kill but protect
2:27pm Wednesday 18th September 2013 in Letters
The letter "Drone victims often civilian" by Ruth Burton,contains several inaccuracies.
Firstly,the Unmanned Aircraft being flown from West Wales Airport are not being test flown---the airframe on which Watchkeeper is based is about 10 years old,is a well proven design,and received its Certificate of Airworthiness long ago.
The flights are carried out by soldiers of the Royal Artillery,as part of a training programme,to equip them for service in any war zone to which they may be sent,to serve their Queen and country!!
Civilian casualties,while regrettable in areas of conflict, are an inevitable consequence of war,--the Blitz by the Luftwaffe on British citie s being a typical example. The term "Drone" can also be misleading, as many of the UAVs in use today,the propellor is driven by a battery operated electric motor,and they are virtually soundless.
Unmanned Aircraft have many peaceful applications,being used worldwide by close to 40 countries,for such things as Aerial Survey, Maritime Patrol, Crop Spraying and aid with crowd control at large sporting event.
While the loss of civilian life is regrettable in the Afghan conflict, the insurgents who lay the EIDs which slaughter our young soldiers--many from this area, are a lawless lot, and do not wear any identifiable uniform,often mingling with civilians in order to avoid detection. I spent some time during the last war in the North West Frontier,flying from the airfield at Peshawar ,close to the Afghan border,and even then,the local tribesmen were an unruly mob,usually with firearms and a bandolier of ammunition. Two of our RAF officers were mown down as they went up the steps into the Mess for lunch.
So nothing changes,although of course, things have moved on in the world since the foundation of Quakerism by George Fox in the 17th century,whose ideals must be increasingly difficult to maintain in our modern world.
Finally, we are not spending money on UAVs to kill people, but to help to protect our young soldiers from injury and death,which to my mind, is a humanitarian cause.