Britain’s drone pilots ‘under-trained’

LONDON — Badly trained pilots are creating “significant risks” to Britain’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) programme, a military investigation has found.

A probe by the Military Aviation Authority found that “increasing demands” on drones used for surveillance and intelligence-gathering were “constraining the length of time available to train and qualify” new pilots, according to extracts printed in Tuesday’s Times.

MPs are due to debate the country’s involvement in drone warfare later Tuesday and Labour plans to push the government over whether unmanned aircraft will be deployed to kill terrorist suspects.

“We must clarify the rules, given the significance and spread of the technology,” shadow armed forces minister Kevan Jones will say, according to the Times.

“Whether valid or not, there is a public perception that unmanned technology is shrouded in secrecy, which increases the potential for its demonisation.

“Being open about usage and codifying our policy would help confront this, and would increase accountability and transparency in the system,” he will add.