Defence Minister has outlined that more that £2bn of the Tempest programme will e used to power the next phase of a brand new world leading air combat system. While the full details have not yet been revealed, a core aircraft will form one element of a network of capabilities including new long-range weapons, uncrewed aircraft and drone development, space based sensors and other new software and hardware to boost air defence for the future.
Defence Minister Jeremy Quinn said:
As our recently published Integrated Review underlined, technology and the threats we are facing have moved on. In the intervening decades, the likes of Russia and China have studied our strengths in the air and begun developing the capabilities to not only counter but surpass us. If we fail to outmatch these targets and they continue at this pace, we could find ourselves locked out of the skies. The freedom of the air cannot be taken for granted.
We have launched the next phase of our programme to design and deliver Tempest and I am proud to say that, over the next four years, we will invest more than £2bn as Government into a world-leading future combat air system to keep us and our allies safe alongside us, leveraging additional investment from our first rate international and industrial partners.
On the seas the Royal Navy are developing a new multi role ocean surveillance ship – a MROSS which will protect our country against hostile actors as well as keep our national infrastructure such as undersea cables safe. The cables are vital for communication and submarine warfare presents risk. For this reason the ship will have advanced sensors and undersea drones to help collect data and detect anomalies.
The vessel will also support exercises in the Arctic and help improve the United Kingdom’s understanding of international water and how international partners are developing their deep-sea capabilities.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
As the threat changes, we must change. Our adversaries look to our critical national infrastructure as a key vulnerability and have developed capabilities that put these under threat. Some of our new investments will therefore go into ensuring that we have the right equipment to close down these newer vulnerabilities. Whether on land, sea or air, we must make sure that we maintain the UK resilience to those that attempt to weaken us.
On land, soldiers will have their fighting skills sharpened by the creation of a new dedicated force designed to fight prototype warfare at the lading edge of defence. An experimental battlegroup will be set up to pit soldiers, equipment and tactics against the latest threats as well as trial new technology and innovation. It is hoped this way of working will build upon best practice and push the forces to their limits on innovation. While it is not the first experimental force in the history of the army, having teams try new ways of fighting and defence helps modernise our force.
Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey said:
With every great advance in technology comes an advance in the way we fight. The British Army has a proud tradition of experimenting and innovating with new technologies during each of the previous industrial revolutions so as we enter this new age of big data, automation and artificial intelligence, it’s important that the new Experimental Battlegroup will be able to build on that tradition and integrate these latest advances into our force structures, equipment requirements and tactics.
Finally on the immediate home front a new UK Health Security Agency is being set up to prevent and respond to external health threats like infectious disease. It will be headed up by Dr Jenny Harries who you will no doubt remember from the Covid19 televised updates. It will bring together data, research, analytics and logistics from the NHS, military and other bodies to ensure we are well prepared for biological threats and pandemic outbreaks in the future.
This body will also take over from Public Health England and the NHS Test and Trace to build upon the data already collated and boost relationships with testing and research bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
These four projects in addition to the Integrated Review on Defence are expected to give a real boost to our national security with more announcements on the way soon….