“Swarm squadrons” of drones are to be deployed by British armed forces to overwhelm enemy air defences, the defence secretary has stated.
Gavin Williamson stated the specially-adapted drones may very well be in operation by the top of 2019.
He additionally warned in a speech that the UK wants a bolder and stronger armed forces ready to make use of “arduous energy”.
Labour has stated the army’s function on the worldwide stage had been “fully undermined” by Tory cuts.
South China Sea
Talking on the Royal United Companies Institute, Mr Williamson stated Britain should stand as much as those that “flout worldwide legislation”.
There was an additional £1.8bn for defence within the final funds and Mr Williamson stated Brexit had introduced the UK its “best alternative” to strengthen its world presence.
He stated the army’s cyber capabilities will likely be strengthened to defend and launch assaults.
The squadrons of “community enabled” drones would value round £7m, he added.
By Jonathan Beale, BBC defence correspondent
Gavin Williamson will battle to match his world ambitions with the realities of an already overstretched defence funds and a smaller British armed forces.
MPs say there’s already a rising black gap within the MoD’s £180bn tools plan.
However as an alternative of creating cuts, Mr Williamson is including extra to his procuring checklist.
He needs two new “multi-role vessels” to assist Royal Marines in a spread of operations from humanitarian assist to war-fighting.
This he believes may very well be achieved cheaply by changing civilian cargo ships however there’s nonetheless no prices or point out of who will crew them – the Royal Navy actually doesn’t have the manpower.
Mr Williamson talks of introducing swarm squadrons of drones to beat an enemy’s air defences.
The MoD believes the know-how may very well be purchased “off the shelf” however, in reality, the idea continues to be untried and untested.
The MoD nonetheless insists these plans have all been costed however its previous monetary report will give many a cause to doubt.
Detailing plans to modernise the armed forces, he stated it should improve its “mass and lethality” – revealing plans for 2 ships that may very well be deployed for disaster assist in addition to army operations.
He stated they’d be capable to reply “at a second’s discover” to assist the Royal Marines.
Based on the MoD, the UK may buy and adapt cargo ships or ferries with present hulls to create the brand new vessels.
The defence secretary additionally confirmed the Royal Navy’s new plane service HMS Queen Elizabeth is being deployed to the Pacific area, the place China has been concerned in a dispute over territorial claims within the South China Sea.
The service will participate within the mission together with F-35 jets from the UK and US.
Mr Williamson stated Britain and its allies needed to be prepared “to make use of arduous energy to assist our pursuits”.
He advised these gathered for his speech that “state-on-state competitors was reviving”.
The defence secretary stated Russia is “resurgent” and rebuilding its army arsenal, including that China can also be growing its fashionable functionality and business energy.
He stated: “We’ve to be prepared to point out the excessive worth of aggressive behaviour. Able to strengthen our resilience.”
Defending interventionist coverage, he stated the price of failing to behave in world crises had usually been “unacceptably excessive”, and that Western powers can’t “stroll on by when others are in want”.
“To speak however fail to behave dangers our nation being seen as little greater than a paper tiger,” he added.
Mr Williamson stated Brexit introduced an “unparalleled alternative” to contemplate how the UK may maximise its affect around the globe.
He stated the UK would construct new alliances and rekindle outdated ones, and shared his perception that Britain “ought to be the nation that individuals flip to when the world wants management”.
However shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith stated the UK’s means to play such a job had been “fully undermined by eight years of Tory defence cuts”.
“The Conservatives have slashed the defence funds by over £9bn in actual phrases since 2010 and they’re chopping armed forces numbers yr after yr.
“As an alternative of merely participating in but extra sabre-rattling, Gavin Williamson ought to become familiar with the disaster in defence funding that’s taking place on his watch,” she stated.