British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will launch the largest defense investment program since the end of the Cold War in Parliament on Thursday, bringing in an additional £ 4 billion a year over the next four years.
The mega-investment plan will fund space and cyber defense projects and is expected to create thousands of new jobs, Downing Street said.
A new agency for artificial intelligence, the creation of a National Cyber Force and a new “Space Command”, with which the first rocket can be launched in 2022, are among the investment priorities.
“I made this decision in the teeth of the pandemic because defending the empire must come first,” Johnson said.
“The international situation is more dangerous and competitive than ever as the Cold War and Britain must remain true to our history and stand by our allies. To do this we must improve our capabilities across the board,” he said.
“This is our chance to end the era of retreat, transform our armed forces, strengthen our global influence, unite and improve our country, advance new technologies, and defend our people and our way of life,” he added.
In a speech to the House of Commons, he will set out a £ 16.5 billion increase over the Conservative Party’s manifesto over four years. Downing Street said the new plan took into account the changing nature of adversaries since the Cold War era of twentieth-century tensions with the Soviet Union.
“Rather than being confined to a distant battlefield, those who want to harm our people can reach them through the cell phones in their pockets or the computers in their homes. Therefore, to protect our citizens, the British defense must operate with a leader at all times Cutting edge technology, “said Downing Street.
This is underpinned by a “record investment” of at least an additional £ 1.5 billion and a total of £ 5.8 billion in military research and development and a commitment to continue investing in the Future Combat Air System. These projects are expected to create up to 10,000 jobs across the UK annually.
“This settlement will secure jobs and livelihoods in the UK, and will allow us to invest in our fantastic shipyards and the aerospace industry, and to spread prosperity to every corner of the UK,” said Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
“The next year represents a great opportunity for this country and defense will be at the forefront of job creation and business opportunities that will help us recover from the pandemic,” he said.
The UK government says the move reverses the systematic decline in the crucial area of research and development over the past 30 years, creating new advances that break the old frontiers of logistics and with a wide variety of civil applications such as autonomous vehicles and aviation go beyond military use.
The aim is to position the UK as a global leader in areas such as cyber and space, and to address weaknesses in its defense arsenal.
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