29 May 2014

US spy drone flies in UK airspace for the first time

The Ministry of Defence reveals that an unmanned US spy drone flew through UK airspace three times recently as part of the Nato trial, Unified Vision.

A US drone flies through UK airspace for the first time (credit: Getty Images)

The unarmed Global Hawk reconnaissance aircraft travelled through UK sovereign airspace on three different occasions in the last month, as a part of a Nato exercise.

The MoD revealed that the unmanned aerial vehicle flew from a base in Italy, through southern Europe before entering UK airspace to Norway, before returning to the States.

The flights took place at heights of about 50,000 feet, well above the cruising altitude of commercial airliners, according to the MoD.

‘Unified Vision’

Air Vice Marshal Phil Osborn said: “It is good to see existing airspace procedures enabling the seamless integration of remotely-piloted air systems, such as the unarmed Global Hawk aircraft, within European airspace.

“This trial will have helped with the development of the Nato alliance ground surveillance system (AGS) and the future airspace integration of RPAS.”

The trial, codenamed Unified Vision, comes ahead of the Nato summit in Wales this September, where world leaders will gather to discuss issues, including terrorism, cyber attacks, and piracy.

Want to get inside a drone? Read Paul Mason's blog here