£195m on new killer robots, but a meagre 3% pay offer for nurses

A Reaper drone
Support us and go ad-free

Just days after NHS workers recoiled at a meagre 3% pay offer from the government, the Tories are set to spend £195m on killer drones. After 18 months of living through a pandemic, with its terrible toll on healthcare and other frontline sectors, this is insult on top of insult.

UK Defence Journal report that thirteen more war drones will be added to the existing fleet of three. After an unconvincing rebrand in 2016, the aircraft are now known as ‘Protectors’. The truth is they’re built from the same model as the infamous Reaper drone, which have terrorised the Middle East and Central Asia for years


The deal was announced by senior RAF air commodore Richard Barrow. As head of the project, Barrow enjoys the comical title “Protector Programme Senior Responsible Owner”.

He told press:

The contract for the additional 13 Protector aircraft, taking the total to 16, is a major milestone for the UK.

Adding that:

When Protector enters service in 2024, UK defence will take an enormous jump forward in capability, giving us the ability to operate globally with this cutting-edge, highly-adaptable platform.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Certainly some parties absolutely will benefit. For example, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc, the global arms firm which aims to have the drones in service by 2024.

And once again, while key workers on the frontlines lose out, British militarism goes on a spending spree.

Costs of war

In a vaguely sensible country, the £195m destined for the accounts of arms firms would be spent on something of social value. For example, it could cover training for an estimated 1,176 doctors. It could also cover one year’s salary for 7,583 new teachers outside London, or the annual wages of around 6,138 trained firefighters.

Yet, at a time when some nurses are still relying on foodbanks, tens of millions are available for the next set of military toys.

This has to be a question of priorities.


Military equipment isn’t the only area enjoying massive injections of cash. £195m is a mere drop in the pond of Matt Hancock’s controversial Track and Trace Scheme. Some estimates put the cost for that at £37bn.

And yet there’s a clear pattern. There’s always money for the next million or even billion pound arms project – be it for drones, tanks, or aircraft carriers. But while arms firms fill their pockets, nurses and teachers have to fight for every last scrap.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Noah Wulf

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Our jackboots are already using military drones, with the same capability of those now currently in use over Palestine. How long before they are targeting UK civilians? Austerity Cull: over 150 000 estimated dead. Pandemic Cull: over 150 000 dead. Neoliberal policy. Not content with changing laws to protect The Chumocracy from prosecution and blaming and imprisoning journalists for revealing their criminality, I believe that driven to extremes anything and everything will be used to protect and survive.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.