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RAF unveils Next Generation Force Protection Vision

NGFP components displayed at the Air and Space Chiefs' Conference included a mock-up of the PHOLOS VTOL UAS. (Andrew White)

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) unveiled multiple components of its Next Generation Specialist Air Force Protection Vision for the first time at the Air and Space Chiefs' Conference held in London between 13 and 14 July.

RAF officials said at the event that the concept, also referred to as Next Generation Force Protection (NGFP), will be rolled out between 2022 and 2040, subject to funding. Budget requests are expected to be submitted to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) later in 2022.

β€œNGFP will be an integral part of the next-generation RAF as the threat spectrum grows wider and more dangerous,” a service official said to Janes . β€œIt is imperative that NGFP maintain an integrated, specialist edge to counter threats across domains, at home, and overseas. Force protection will be driven by innovation as we develop the concepts and equipment required for complex, multidomain operations to reduce vulnerabilities; mitigate risks; deter, deny, disrupt or defeat threats; and enable a battle-winning next-generation RAF,” the official added.

Solutions being considered as part of the concept include multidomain integration technology and a variety of sensors including multirole uncrewed systems for persistent surveillance in the air and on the ground.

The concept will also harness multispectral and wide area intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, supported by artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to distinguish among threats, detect, identify and track them, as well as cross-cue effectors.

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