UK military commander finds UK needs 10,000 drones by 2030 in Ukraine conflict


A British military commander said the conflict in Ukraine has underscored the need for Britain to equip more drones, and said he wanted to deploy up to 10,000 by 2030.

During the second day of the London Defense Conference at King’s College London (KCL) on Wednesday, Defense Chief of Staff Admiral Sir Tony Rudakkin said drones are now “ubiquitous” in modern warfare. Stated.

He said the lessons of the Ukraine conflict would affect Britain and called for an “open dialogue” about what it meant for the structure of the British military.

In a conversation with KCL professor John Grierson, Rudakkin said: What does that mean for the future? ”

“We’re talking about a navy of 500 ships, but it may not be 500 ships, it may be 400 drones, 1,000 aircraft, but 800 drones, so hundreds of aircraft. It might be worth it,” he said. There are thousands of people in the military, but with that level of lethality and that level of firepower. ”

Grierson said he heard Mr Ladakin’s mention before the ambition to deploy 10,000 drones by 2030 was born, and the Admiral said, “I think that’s something we should consider.” answered.

10,000 drones is a “relatively small” number

“So 10,000 by 2030 is a big deal on some level. That’s a big number. The numbers, and that’s what we have to work with.”

Ladakin also referred to a strategic “Indo-Pacific tilt,” but said Britain remained focused on the “Euro-Atlantic” theater.

He lists all the places where British troops have been stationed or set up training bases, including East of Suez, Bahrain, Duqm (Oman), Kenya, Diego Garcia, Singapore, Brunei and Japan after the Hiroshima Accords. But he denied that the “tilt” toward the Indo-Pacific has gone too far.

The British Army, which has been cut from 82,000 to 72,500 men, is smaller than ever before, in what former Army chief Sir Dunat last year described as “crazy”.

But Mr. Ladakin said he recently had an upbeat conversation with Army chief General Patrick Sanders.

“His army is a little smaller, but it’s more than that,” Mr. Ladakin said.

He said the key for Britain is to coordinate its ships, aircraft, military and cyber defenses against the threats that exist in the 2020s.

epoch photo
(Left to right) British Defense Chief of Staff Admiral Tony Ladakin, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, and Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov at the Russian Ministry of Defense in Moscow, February 11. , 2022. (Department of Defense/PA)

Asked about the growing threat posed by the Chinese Communist regime in Beijing, Mr. Ladakin said he was happy to hear some of the “geopolitical messages” that Western leaders have been using lately.

he said: IR23 [the UK’s integrated defence review]G-7 language clarity, Prime Minister statement in the House of Commons [of Commons] Seeing Kia Sturmer’s reaction on Monday and his rhetoric upsurge around China suggests that the world’s major powers are looking at the issue in a very similar way and they are beginning that journey. need to be reassured to some extent. ”

Mr. Rudakine accompanied Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on a visit to Moscow on February 11, 2022, but was told there were no plans to invade Ukraine. A few days later the Russians invaded.

Sunak: Ukrainian positions ‘every chance of success’

On the first day of the meeting, Prime Minister Rishi Snak said there was “every chance of success” against the Russian military if Ukraine chose to launch an offensive.

Sunak, who had just returned from Japan, said the sight of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the G7 leaders “sent a pretty strong message” to the Kremlin.

“What Ukraine has done in the past year is to fight back. Many people thought it was impossible. It has persevered through a harsh winter and is rebuilding.”

Regarding the possibility of a Ukrainian attack, Sunak said: “We have worked with them to develop a plan that we believe can make a difference, and have taken the lead in ensuring that they have the resources and capabilities to make it happen. “has every chance of success” that plan. We have played a leading role and we should be proud of that. ”

Shadow Secretary of Defense John Healy said at the same conference that Labor would conduct a defense budget review within 12 months of taking office, saying “we will spend on defense what we need”.

Healy also stressed that the Labor government would support Ukrainians in their war against Russian aggression.

He also said a long-term commitment to Kiev is needed, which “will signal Putin that in the long run things will only get worse, not better.”