LONDON — Britain’s Defence Ministry will create a strategy to progress the development of unmanned capabilities, the country’s defense procurement minister announced in a speech Tuesday at the DSEI show in London.
Details are scarce, but James Cartlidge told hundreds of military and industry officials attending the event that the government intends to produce a strategic document covering the drone sector. In part, the move is aimed at accelerating the introduction of the weapon type into the military, he explained.
“We will be bringing forward an uncrewed systems strategy in the coming months. It’s hugely important. It will help accelerate U.K. armed forces’ access to uncrewed systems and rapidly equipping them with innovative technology across air, sea and land,” Cartlidge said.
Ministry officials said the strategy will likely be published around the end of the year. This the latest in a rash of strategy documents recently produced by the MoD focused on the land, air and sea domains of warfare.
British Army chief Gen. Patrick Sanders shed a little more light on the growing influence of UAS during a speech later in the day, in which addressed military restructuring and a closer relationship with industry.
“By the end of this year we will form a new UAS group within a reoriented Joint Aviation Command. This expanded JAC remit will bring deep expertise and the coherence that the new defense uncrewed strategy requires, and it’ll provide a focal point for industry around which we intend to develop the next generation of UAS platforms in even closer partnership,” Sanders said.
Meanwhile, British defense companies BAE Systems and QinetiQ used the first day of the DSEI show to announce they had signed a framework agreement aimed at collaborating on drones and associated mission management systems.
QinetiQ also announced it is developing a low-cost, disposable, jet-powered drone called Jackdaw, which could be available by the mid-2020s.
Andrew Chuter is the United Kingdom correspondent for Defense News.
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