Today’s papers include news of a new unmanned RAF aircraft flying to the UK, speculation of a troop uplift in Afghanistan and a report calling for more defence spending.
Protector set to cross Atlantic
Outlets including The Sun and the Daily Mail report that the first transatlantic 'drone' flight to land in the UK will touch down next month.
The story refers to the UK's Protector, a new Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) ordered for the RAF which will fly non-stop from the United States to RAF Fairford in the UK on 11 July. The flight from North Dakota to Gloucestershire is likely to take over 20 hours and will be the first across the Atlantic by a Medium Altitude RPAS and the first time one has entered UK airspace under beyond line-of-sight communication control.
Defence Minister Guto Bebb said:
Protector’s first arrival in the UK is an exciting milestone in our mission to get the most advanced equipment to combat the intensifying threats that we face. With almost double the endurance of its predecessor and armed with the latest missiles and surveillance technology, this unmanned aircraft will not only give us a decisive advantage on the battlefield but will help us reach new heights to keep Britain safe at home and overseas.
Read more here.
Afghan troop uplift
The BBC has speculated that the National Security Council will today discuss a potential uplift in troops to Afghanistan ahead of the Nato summit in a few weeks’ time.
A Government spokesperson said:
The support the UK provides Afghanistan on security, development and governance is crucial to building a stable state and reducing the terrorist threat to the UK. We remain committed to NATO’s non-combat Resolute Support mission, in which we play an important role, and keep our contribution under constant review.
Defence Committee report
Following a recent evidence session, the House of Commons Defence Committee has produced a report into its findings, claiming the UK should be looking to spend 2.5 to 3% of GDP on defence and has commented on interoperability with the US.
An MOD spokesperson said:
The UK maintains the biggest defence budget in Europe we have been clear we will continue to exceed NATO’s 2% spending target. The Defence Secretary launched the Modernising Defence Programme to strengthen our Armed Forces in the face of intensifying threats.
The unparalleled extent of UK-US cooperation on nuclear, intelligence, diplomacy, technology and military capabilities plays a major role in guaranteeing the national security of both our countries. It can be more cost-effective to cooperate and burden-share than to work in isolation.
European Intervention Initiative
Defence Minister Earl Howe signed a letter of intent in Luxembourg yesterday to reflect UK support for the European Intervention Initiative, a proposed framework to improve information sharing, planning and co-ordination of military deployments. Articles on the signing are carried in the likes of The Times, The Telegraph and the Daily Express.
A Government spokesperson said:
While our relationship with the EU is changing, we have been clear that we are unconditionally committed to European security. We are strongest together and already work with our European allies as part of NATO, the cornerstone of our defence. An ambitious UK-EU security partnership is in the interests of, not just the UK, but the whole of Europe.
Image of the Day