> our title:

Will the US Open A Drone Operations Centre In UK?

> original title:

US Drone Operations Centre to Open In the UK?

(Source: Drone Wars UK; issued Feb 10, 2016)

By Chris Cole

LAKENHEATH, UK --- In December 2015 the US announced plans to vastly expand its drone programme including increasing the number of drones to be purchased, doubling the number of drone operators and opening new drone bases.

According to a report in the LA Times, as part of these plans Pentagon officials are considering putting a drone operations centre at a USAF base in the UK – at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

An RAF base in name only the base has been used by the USAF for decades and is currently home to USAF 48th Fighter Wing, 4,800 US military personnel and US F-15 aircraft. In June 2015 US F-15’s took off from Lakenheath to undertake the targeted killing of Mokhtar Belmokhtar in Libya. While seven people were killed in the bombing, Belmokhtar reportedly survived.

Oxford MP Andrew Smith asked the MoD last week whether there had been any discussion with the US about the opening of a drone base at Lakenheath. The MoD’s just published ‘answer’ was that “the UK and US have routine discussions on all aspects of US visiting forces in the UK.” A perfect ‘Sir Humphrey’ non-answer if there every was one.

The UK’s use of armed drones, operated by RAF pilots at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire and Creech AFB in Nevada, has long been intertwined with the US drone programme. There have also been persistent reports that GCHQ has supplied intelligence to the US for drone targeted killings and that RAF Croughton (another US base in disguise) in Northamptonshire is directly linked into the US drone intelligence network.

However if a US drone operations centre were to be opened in the UK, this would be a real step-up in UK support for, and connection with, the highly controversial US use of armed drones. (enf of excerpt

Click here for the full story, on the Drone Wars UK blog.