RAF Reaper drone in 2013

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The squadron of drones would have an anticipated value of £7m

“Swarm squadrons” of drones are to be deployed by British armed forces to overwhelm enemy air defences, the defence secretary has mentioned.

Gavin Williamson mentioned the specially-adapted drones might be in operation by the top of 2019.

He additionally warned in a speech that the UK wants a bolder and stronger armed forces ready to make use of “arduous energy”.

Labour has mentioned the navy’s function on the worldwide stage had been “utterly undermined” by Tory cuts.

South China Sea

Talking on the Royal United Providers Institute, Mr Williamson mentioned Britain should stand as much as those that “flout worldwide legislation”.

There was an additional £1.8bn for defence within the final price range and Mr Williamson mentioned Brexit had introduced the UK its “best alternative” to strengthen its world presence.

He mentioned the navy’s cyber capabilities shall be strengthened to defend and launch assaults.

The squadrons of “community enabled” drones would value round £7m, he added.


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Mr Williamson says the UK wants a much bigger and bolder armed forces

By Jonathan Beale, BBC defence correspondent

Gavin Williamson will battle to match his world ambitions with the realities of an already overstretched defence price range and a smaller British armed forces.

MPs say there’s already a rising black gap within the MoD’s £180bn tools plan.

However as an alternative of constructing cuts, Mr Williamson is including extra to his buying checklist.

He needs two new “multi-role vessels” to help Royal Marines in a variety of operations from humanitarian help to war-fighting.

This he believes might be performed cheaply by changing civilian cargo ships however there’s nonetheless no prices or point out of who will crew them – the Royal Navy actually doesn’t have the manpower.

Mr Williamson talks of introducing swarm squadrons of drones to beat an enemy’s air defences.

The MoD believes the know-how might be purchased “off the shelf” however, in fact, the idea remains to be untried and untested.

The MoD nonetheless insists these plans have all been costed however its previous monetary document will give many a cause to doubt.

Detailing plans to modernise the armed forces, he mentioned it should enhance its “mass and lethality” – revealing plans for 2 ships that might be deployed for disaster help in addition to navy operations.

He mentioned they might have the ability to reply “at a second’s discover” to help the Royal Marines.

In keeping with the MoD, the UK might buy and adapt cargo ships or ferries with current hulls to create the brand new vessels.

The defence secretary additionally confirmed the Royal Navy’s new plane service HMS Queen Elizabeth is being deployed to the Pacific area, the place China has been concerned in a dispute over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The service will participate within the mission together with F-35 jets from the UK and US.

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The Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth is being deployed to the Pacific area

Mr Williamson mentioned Britain and its allies needed to be prepared “to make use of arduous energy to help our pursuits”.

He instructed these gathered for his speech that “state-on-state competitors was reviving”.

The defence secretary mentioned Russia is “resurgent” and rebuilding its navy arsenal, including that China can be creating its trendy functionality and business energy.

He mentioned: “Now we have to be prepared to point out the excessive value of aggressive behaviour. Able to strengthen our resilience.”

‘Paper tiger’

Defending interventionist coverage, he mentioned the price of failing to behave in world crises had usually been “unacceptably excessive”, and that Western powers can’t “stroll on by when others are in want”.

“To speak however fail to behave dangers our nation being seen as little greater than a paper tiger,” he added.

Mr Williamson mentioned Brexit introduced an “unparalleled alternative” to think about how the UK might maximise its affect around the globe.

He mentioned the UK would construct new alliances and rekindle previous ones, and shared his perception that Britain “must be the nation that folks flip to when the world wants management”.

However shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith mentioned the UK’s means to play such a job had been “utterly undermined by eight years of Tory defence cuts”.

“The Conservatives have slashed the defence price range by over £9bn in actual phrases since 2010 and they’re reducing armed forces numbers yr after yr.

“As an alternative of merely participating in but extra sabre-rattling, Gavin Williamson ought to become familiar with the disaster in defence funding that’s taking place on his watch,” she mentioned.