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UK plans drone 'swarm squadrons' after Brexit

AFP  |  London 

Britain on Monday announced plans for "squadrons" of drones that could overwhelm enemy air defences as part of a series of plans to "enhance its lethality" after

In a hawkish speech in London, said leaving the was an opportunity for Britain "when we must strengthen our global presence".

Williamson announced plans to invest 7 million pounds (8 million euros, USD 9 million) in the drones, saying he expected squadrons "capable of confusing and overwhelming enemy air defences" to be ready by the end of 2019.

Williamson also said Britain would spend 65 million pounds in "offensive cyber", and bring two new naval vessels into service for operations from crisis support to conflict.

Opposition parties criticised Williamson's rhetoric.

"The idea that our membership of the restricts us is the purest nonsense," said.

"In fact the economic damage that threatens is what will most quickly weaken our forces," the anti-MP said.

Britain is weeks away from its scheduled departure from the and still has no firm arrangements in place.

Theresa May's Downing Street office played down another of Williamson's suggestions, to deploy Britain's new aircraft carrier, HMS Elizabeth, in a challenge to in the Pacific.

"The full details of her deployment will be agreed by the in due course," May's said.

The said the ship would only be ready to sail in 2021 and its first operational mission would include the Mediterranean, and Pacific regions.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 23:35 IST