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Committee examine risk of extremists maliciously using drones within UK

3 April 2019

The Defence Committee launches an inquiry examining the risk of terrorists and other extremists maliciously using drones within the UK, and what the Government should be doing to address this threat.

Purpose of the inquiry

In recent years ever-more advanced drones have become readily available to the civilian market, and concern has increased around the world about their potential use by terrorists. The disruption caused at Gatwick and Heathrow airports last December and January highlighted the impact the misuse of drones could have, while there is growing worry that the battlefield experience gained from the use of drones in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, for both reconnaissance and attacking targets, could be used domestically. The Defence Committee has decided to explore the nature of the threat from drones, the availability of countermeasures and the UK's preparedness for responding to this threat.

Send in your views

The Committee would welcome written evidence addressing the following questions:


  • How great is the risk of a drone attack in the UK, and what types of target are most vulnerable?
  • How feasible are drone attacks using chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear agents?
  • Is the threat posed by drones increasing, and are they a unique threat requiring bespoke countermeasures?


  • Are adequate countermeasures in place to detect, track and identify drones?
  • What are the limitations on the deployment and use of countermeasures, and how should these be addressed?
  • What role does Government have in supporting the development of countermeasures, and ensuring they are deployed to protect all potential targets?
  • Are plans for the registration of civilian drones in the UK from November 2019 an effective countermeasure to the terrorist threat, or could they be improved?

Wider issues

  • Are adequate systems and processes currently in place for the UK authorities to respond quickly and appropriately in an emergency arising from a drone attack?
  • Is responding to the threat posed by the terrorist use of drones a military role, or rather a responsibility for domestic powers with occasional military aid to civil authorities?
  • What can the UK learn from other countries about countering the terrorist threat of drones?

Send in your views to the Defence Committee inquiry on the Domestic Threat of Drones.

The deadline for written submissions is 10 May 2019.

Further information

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