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Unmanned Air Vehicles

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 25681, tabled on 3 February 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Zephyr 8 UAVs his Department plans to buy; what the estimated cost per unit is of that equipment; what the programme through life cost is of that equipment; and where he plans units of that equipment will be based.

Answered on

11 February 2016

As part of our commitment to providing next-generation battlefield intelligence capabilities to the UK Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defence is planning to contract for the demonstration of two Zephyr Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. This contract will allow the UK to understand whether Zephyr can fulfil the requirement for a high-altitude persistent surveillance capability, as announced in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

The £10.6 million contract, due to be signed imminently with Airbus Defence and Space, is for an operational concept demonstration rather than individual platforms, so unit costs are not held. Furthermore, as the Zephyr demonstrators will not be in-service, they will not be based at a particular location and there will be no related support or through-life costs.

Tests are due to take place in 2017 to assess Zephyr's capabilities and explore its potential.