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UK’s New Drone Strategy to Include $5.7B Investment in New Unmanned Systems

The UK Ministry of Defence has launched a new drone strategy that includes at least 4.5 billion pounds ($5.7 billion) of investment in new unmanned aerial systems over the next decade.

The strategy, which comes amid the constantly evolving threats of robotic platforms, is designed to help the country stay “one step ahead” of adversaries in future drone warfare.

The goal is to develop and produce drones in four key categories: logistics, one-way attack, naval mine clearance, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR).

These uncrewed systems will be delivered at pace into the hands of the British military, equipping personnel with the capabilities they need to keep up with modern challenges.

“This (strategy) will leave behind long development timelines and lengthy requirement discussions,” the defense ministry noted.

Additionally, the new drone strategy will ramp up collaboration between the government and defense industry to make the UK more competitive in the global export market.

A ‘Clear, Unified’ Approach

Described as a “game-changing” technology, the UK Ministry of Defence acknowledged the need to invest in and gain an edge in drone development to keep pace with the changing threat picture.

British defense procurement minister James Cartlidge said being able to rapidly develop and upgrade uncrewed systems under the new strategy will be key to gaining battlefield advantage.

UK Malloy TRV150 drones
A swarm of UK Malloy TRV150 drones. Photo: Barry Wheeler/UK MoD

It would also bring together a “clear and unified” approach in drone deployment across all services of the British Armed Forces.

“We must seize this opportunity to grow and sustain such skills and capabilities in the UK,” Cartlidge added.

Taking Lessons From Ukraine

The new drone strategy draws directly from the analysis of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which sees both sides using hundreds of drones in combat and ISR roles.

Cartlidge said the war has been an incubator for new ways of winning combat, “and we need to learn and implement those hard-fought lessons.”

The UK’s Defence Equipment & Support, which has supported the rapid acquisition of drones for Kyiv, also claimed that unhindered access to “battle-winning” uncrewed systems is crucial in modern-day combat.

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