The Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Reaper MQ-9 UAVs that are based in Afghanistan will be controlled for the first time from a new squadron to be formed at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, UK.
Control of the 39 squadron crews at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, US, will be transferred to the UK.
The Reapers, used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, will take on squadron number XIII.
UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox said the new squadron’s Reaper capacity has been doubled to ten aircraft, worth an increased investment of £135m.
The doubling of the capability will increase the ISR coverage from 36 to 72 hours a day by 2015, for which an additional five Reapers and four Reaper ground control stations are being procured from the US.