UK Leaders Highlight Need To Boost ISTAR

Britain’s upcoming strategic defense and security review (SDSR) could boost surveillance assets after the prime minister, the defense secretary and the chief of the Defence Staff last week all said they support spending in the sector.


UK Leaders Highlight Need To Boost ISTAR


During a July 13 visit to the Royal Air Force’s main surveillance and reconnaissance base at Waddington, eastern England, Prime Minister David Cameron sent a strong signal to service chiefs and others ahead of the SDSR that he wanted to see more investment in intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities to combat threats like the Islamic State group.


Saying he had tasked the defense and security chiefs to look specifically at how Britain could better counter the group and Islamist extremism, Cameron said, “This could include more drones, spy planes and special forces.”


Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Nick Houghton was unequivocal about the need to add ISTAR capability, telling a Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) conference in London on July 15 that he couldn’t “stress enough the need for a greater qualitative and quantitative investment in intelligence, surveillance understanding.”


Some of the answers as to how Britain meets its ISTAR ambitions are contained in an air ISTAR optimization study completed last year, which is feeding into the SDSR process.


The Conservative government is expected to publish the SDSR in late October. One of the decisions will be how it intends to replace the Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft program it scrapped in 2010.


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Source: Defense News.

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