£100m Deal for RAF Drones
Contract with California-based firm is intended to boost performance of new fleet of Protector drones
The Guardian reported on the UK Government’s plans to double the RAF’s drone fleet from 10 to 20, replacing the existing Reapers with updated version, the Protector, due to come into service for 2020. Defence secretary, Michael Fallon, was quoted as saying:
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. The UK’s security partnership with the US is the deepest and most advanced of any two nations on Earth; this programme is part of a further strengthening which will help keep Britain safe and secure.
The Protector will be armed with UK-made Brimstone 2 missiles and Paveway IV laser-guided bombs.
Currently, 13 Squadron and 19 Squadron RAF are equipped with the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper.
Photo: Reaper, a Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS), part of 39 Squadron Royal Air Force by Cpl Mark Webster, British Army (Crown Copyright, 2011).