Dickinson denies drone deal claim
Bruce Dickinson has shouted down an online rumour that he’s involved in a $500m deal to build killer drones for the US military.
The Iron Maiden frontman has been the subject of speculation after stories circulated on the internet that his aviation firm took part in the manufacture or repair of unmanned armed flying machines.
The use of drones in war zones has proved controversial, with some claiming they kill more innocent parties than people defined as legitimate targets.
The story appears to have arisen via the website of South African firm Conference Speakers. In a page now removed they named Dickinson as a client available to give corporate talks, and listed the military contract among his business achievements. That led to stories from bloggers, one of whom labelled the singer a “rock’n'roll warmonger.”
A spokesman for Iron Maiden tells NME: “This is a totally inaccurate and malicious piece of writing that seems to have stemmed from an unfortunate mistake in terminology on a, website that the writer of said blog has used as a starting point to go off on a flight of sheer fantasy.”
The truth, says the spokesman, is that Dickinson and Maiden manager Rod Smallwood have invested in the development of hybrid air vehicles (HAV) – which are not drones.
The spokesman adds: “The future implementation of HAVs is a likely global trend which has massive positive implications in many areas of life. Both Bruce and Rod are proud to be involved with a British company at the cutting edge of this technology.
“Rather than being involved in attacks in the Third World, HAVs are designed to offer much-needed assistance to civilians, businesses and governments that would be unavailable otherwise, due to the unique nature of these incredible vehicles.”
The spokesman also offers an explanation for the military link, saying: “As with many far-sighted technological advances, early adopters and financial supporters tend to be military-based, as they have the resources to invest and develop, be that everything from space-travel to medicine.
“Possible military use of HAVs in future could be for heavy-lifting, transportation or high altitude detection of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), or similar, thus saving lives, both military and civilian.”
Dickinson, a keen pilot who flew Maiden round the world during their Somewhere Back In Time world tour, launched his firm Cardiff Aviation Ltd last year. His move followed the demise of charter airline Astreus, which whom he’d worked as a pilot and marketing manager. Cardiff Aviation has since created 70 jobs and is looking to launch its own airline in the coming year.