4 Oct 2015

UK to ‘double number of drones’ used to combat Isis

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to double the number of British drones used to fight militants for the so-called Islamic State, as well as “enhance” the involvement of the SAS.

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, he said the UK will 20 new Protector drones — who would be used for surveillance and could be target jihadists in Syria “as a last resort”.

Mr Cameron said: “One of the biggest threats we have to respond to is that terrorist threat and that means a lot of things in terms of obviously domestic security and our intelligence services.

“But it also means making sure that we have the military we need equipment and resources – so seeing an enhancement of our Special Forces and particularly on the issue of surveillance aircraft.”

“We have at the moment a drone fleet of 10 Reapers and what we are going to be doing is actually replacing that with twice as many with a new updated piece of equipment – called Protector – which will be more than doubling our fleet to keep us safe and to give us the intelligence and information and potentially give us the capacity to hit people who are potentially planning to hit us.”

Asked whether there would be more missions in Syria targeting British jihadists, Mr Cameron said: “It’s obviously a last resort. It’s only the right thing to do if there are no other avenues you can take.

“What we try to do is stop people travelling to these regions, confiscate their passports, work with local government to have them arrested or detained. We try and take every step we can but at the end of the day we have to keep the British people safe from terrorist threats.”

The comments come as the Tory party gathers for its annual conference. The end of Labour’s conference was overshadowed by a row over Jeremy Corbyn’s support for unilateral nuclear disarmament.