Defence Drone Strategy published by Ministry of Defence

Ministry of Defence publishes Defence Drone Strategy, setting out how the UK will become a world leader in uncrewed defence systems across all domains.

In February 2024 the Ministry of Defence published its Defence Drone Strategy, setting out how the UK will become a world leader in uncrewed defence systems across all domains.

Current programmes include:

Air – MQ-9 Reaper, its successor the MQ-9B Protector, and Autonomous Collaborative Platforms developed as part of the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP)

Water – Remus 100 and 300 uncrewed and underwater vehicles for mine detection, and M500 for seabed operations. The first launch and landing of a UAV, the Mojave RPAS, from an aircraft carrier.

Littoral Stike – Developing the use of uncrewed air systems (UAS) to deliver supplies to the frontline.

Land/Near Surface – small tactical systems including Desert Hawk and the larger Phoenix, Hermes and Watchkeeper

The paper focuses on four key objectives:

  1. Learn from the experiences of operating uncrewed systems in Ukraine, to ‘expedite the adoption of acquisition reform’, and increase the pace of procurement and development of capabilities.
  2. Build the resilient industrial base required to sustain the UK military guided by the 2021 Defence and Security Industrial Strategy, strengthening the defence supply chain.
  3. Define the digital architecture - open and ‘secure by design’ - to enable ‘seamless operational integration’ across all domains, and harness existing data, including from Ukraine, ‘to continuously refine… capabilities’.
  4. To promote a ‘culture of innovation’ ensuring that research and development meets ‘the challenges of a constantly evolving operational environment’ with allies including AUKUS, and working with regulators to support industry in testing and evaluating products.

The UK will continue to learn from the experiences of systems operating presently in Ukraine through the Ukraine-UK uncrewed systems initiative and work closely with industry to refine requirements and strengthen collaboration.

MOD will also establish a Defence-level governance mechanism to support the delivery of frontline capabilities across all services and domains.

To read the full report, click here.

Jeremy Wimble

Programme Manager, techUK

Jeremy is a programme manager at techUK and is responsible for the delivery of the defence programme’s activities through the Defence and Security SME Forum, Defence Commercial Business Forum, Defence Research and Technology Forum, and Information Superiority Forum.

Prior to joining techUK, from 2016-2024 Jeremy was International Security Programme Manager at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). In this role he coordinated the team’s research and impact activities for funders including the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and US Department of Defense. He also worked on business development and strategy.

Jeremy has a MA in International Relations from the University of Birmingham and a BA (Hons) in Politics & Social Policy from Swansea University.

[email protected]

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l report, please click here.