RAF Centenary

Part of Leaving the EU – in the House of Commons at 6:09 pm on 26th November 2018.

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Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Defence 6:09 pm, 26th November 2018

The hon. Gentleman is trying to tempt me. I am incredibly encouraged by the fact that we have a defence budget that last year sat at £36 billion and next year will sit at £39 billion. This is a real commitment to and investment in our future capabilities. We have already taken out £9.5 billion in terms of efficiencies, and we will continue to look at how we can do more on that going forward. We do recognise the importance of investing, and that is why we are so proud that we have a rising defence budget and the opportunity to invest in new capabilities.

But this is also about looking at how we do things slightly differently. How do we proceed as we invest in new technologies? We have seen a divergence in the costs of military technologies as they rise exponentially higher than those of commercial technologies. How can we start to bridge that gap and bring down some of the costs of these technologies? It will be important to recognise that more new technologies are becoming available. We are upgrading our Reaper remotely piloted air system with the Protector, which will give the RAF unrivalled intelligence-gathering ability and more than 40 hours of endurance. We will be looking at different types of ability to bring the fight to our enemies. A large part of that will be not only F-35s and Typhoons, but unmanned aerial vehicles that will be able to do surveillance and bring strike capability.