‘Reaper Force: Inside Britain’s Drone Wars’ is an extraordinary book about the personal and professional lives of Reaper Operators who watch and kill from afar, published 4th October 2018.
The book launch will include a talk from Dr Peter Lee as he shares his experience and research on the ethics of war. He will also be available for any questions after the lecture over some festive refreshments.
The talk will take place in Eldon Building, room EW 1.11 with refreshments located in the foyer.
You can register for the event by clicking here.
‘I dropped my son at his school in the morning, continued to work and within a couple of hours killed two men. I then went home to be greeted by my son with a cheery, “How was your day?”’ – Jay, Reaper pilot.
The RAF Reaper Force has been at war continuously since its inception in 2007, longer than the First World War and Second World War combined. Yet it remains one of the most secretive and guarded military communities in the world. The operational crew controls the aircraft, its sensors and weapons system across continents via an advanced, secure satellite communication system from bases in the UK and US.
The Reaper can hit a target with astounding accuracy. Often the first the target will know of an attack is when the missile or bomb strikes. Their work has prompted regular anti-drone demonstrations where campaigners protest that their systems are putting civilian lives at risk.
Despite ongoing public controversy about their role in Britain’s drone wars, little is known about the RAF Reaper Force and the crews who operate them. Despite the distance from the battle zone, remote warfare can take its toll on the personnel involved who move between home and work, peace and war, every day for years on end.
In this fascinating and insightful book, Dr Peter Lee immerses himself and the reader in the world of the Reaper operations and those who carry them out.
Dr Peter Lee, an international authority on the deployment of military drones and former RAF chaplain, was granted unprecedented research access, over several years, to the RAF’s Reaper squadrons and personnel, observing real-time lethal missile strikes and surveillance missions against Islamic State jihadists in Syria and Iraq alongside the crews involved.
Based on extensive interviews with Reaper crew members, spouses and partners, the book is a highly detailed and intimate account of the human aspect of remote air warfare in the twenty-first century.
Dr Peter Lee said,
‘I was initially reluctant to write this book as my personal experience of war has been painfully focused on the human cost to those who fight. However, it took only a brief glimpse into the lives of a few RAF Reaper operators and their families to realise that theirs is an extraordinary story unlike any other in the history of warfare. I had to tell it.’
About the author:
Dr Peter Lee is an academic at the University of Portsmouth and an expert on military drone operations. His specialist subject area is ethics and war, and he has been researching and writing about RAF Reaper operations since 2012. His interest in the human dimension of war first emerged at the bedsides of grievously injured and dying soldiers during the first five months of the 2003 Iraq War.
At the time he was serving as an RAF chaplain at the British military hospital in Cyprus. Over time, the physical and emotional trauma he encountered there had a profound impact on him, and he eventually moved from chaplaincy to academia in 2008. He subsequently spent nine years as a lecturer in Air Power Studies at RAF College Cranwell. Peter has been extensively involved in public and academic debate over the UK’s use of the Reaper in remote air operations for several years. As a result he is regularly invited to lecture on different aspects of drone use to military, security, academic, political, religious, media and wider audiences.
He has previously published Blair’s Just War: Iraq and the Illusion of Morality (2012) and Truth Wars: The Politics of Climate Change, Military Intervention and Financial Crisis (2015).
Peter has recently presented to Parliamentarians hosted by Baroness Stern, on the use of drones.