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DSEI 2023: British Army to form UAS group, leverage data

Gen Sanders said in his speech at DSEI 2023 that Ajax has been described “as an AH-64E on tracks”. (Janes/Nicholas Fiorenza)

The British Army will form an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) group by the end of 2023, the UK's Chief of the General Staff, General Patrick Sanders, announced in a speech on the first day of the DSEI 2023 defence exhibition held in London from 12 to 15 September. He said the UAS group would be formed within a reoriented Joint Aviation Command, “which will provide a focal point for industry, around which we intend to develop the next generation of UAS platforms in ever closer partnership”.

He explained that the UAS group would be formed in response to 40% losses suffered by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Ukraine. “When the electromagnetic spectrum is so heavily contested, automation fails, and the skill of the pilot predominates. We need warfighters – whether they are cyber specialists, drone pilots, or infantry soldiers – to be stronger, faster, more intelligent, and more resilient,” Gen Sanders said.

The formation of a UAS group is in addition to other changes he outlined in the British Army's structure. The 1st (UK) Division will take command of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and become a land component command of a joint, multidomain, sovereign Global Response Force by 2024 and a second division headquarters. The 3rd (UK) Division's warfighting capabilities under the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) will be enhanced and British Army special operations forces will be offered to NATO for the first time.

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