General Atomics will develop their current drone technology into new unmanned aerial vehicles for use by the Royal Air Force.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has agreed £100 million (US$ 127 million) contract to develop Protector Remotely Piloted Air System especially for RAF.
“Britain faces ever-evolving threats and we must look at innovative solutions to stay ahead of our enemies. Doubling investment in our unmanned air fleet will substantially enhance both the intelligence gathering and firepower of the RAF,” Fallon said Sunday.
Protector will be equipped with advanced imaging and enhanced data-link technology. There are also plans for Protector to be armed with UK-made Brimstone 2 missiles and Paveway IV laser-guided bombs.
Sir Michael Fallon is in the US as a keynote speaker at the annual Reagan National Defence Forum, in California, where he will meet US Secretary for Defence Ash Carter and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Dunford.
Speaking at the Forum, the Defence Secretary underlined close collaboration between the two countries on future defence technologies was emphasised recently in a joint agreement to explore the impact that robotic and autonomous systems might have on resupplying the military, with the first demonstration due next October.
Chief Executive Officer of the MOD’s Defence Equipment & Support organisation, Tony Douglas, said, Building on our current Unmanned Aerial Vehicle capability, the next-generation Protector will offer improved range and endurance, greater weapons capacity, automated take-off and landing and better resilience against the elements.