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Defence

Defence Ministers bolster Drone Coalition

Defence Secretary John Healey joined allies and partners yesterday in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a framework for the international capability Drone Coalition to supply drones for Ukraine.

Image by Willy Barton / copyright Shutterstock

The Drone Coalition - originally put forward by Latvia, coordinated with the UK and formally established on 14th February 2024 - includes Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden and the UK. The nations of the Drone Coalition have recognised the importance of support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s aggression, facilitating Ukraine’s military success by establishing the Coalition to meet its high demand for a wide spectrum and capacity of drones.

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The Drone Coalition is focused on providing Ukraine with drones and components produced by the industry of Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) countries, as well as finding ways to support Ukrainian manufacturers to ensure that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are equipped with the most efficient capabilities.

Members of the Drone Coalition have already provided significant support to Ukraine by delivering drones. Latvia is providing a drone testing training range for industry and military to continuously improve drone technology.

The UK has launched an industry competition on behalf of Drone Coalition to develop and procure First Person View (FPV) drones, of which 265 bids were received. These bids are currently being evaluated and the first contracts are expected to be signed in August.

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Yesterday, the members of the Drone Coalition signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which provides a framework outlining the Coalition’s core activities, management structure procurement mechanisms.

The MoU establishes the UK-led Drone Coalition Common Fund, enabling joint procurement for rapid and efficient drone deliveries. So far, the Netherlands, the UK, Latvia, New Zealand and Sweden have pledged in total over €45 million to the Common Fund, with additional contributions anticipated.

The Drone Coalition is planning to deliver one million FPV drones to Ukraine. At the same time, coalition members are working to provide other types of drones like reconnaissance, strike drones, AI upgraded drones, as well as counter-drone capabilities. Through the Drone Coalition, member nations will be seeking joint procurement initiatives to utilise and expand national industrial capacities, whilst encouraging additional funding to be made available to achieve the coalition’s aims. The Drone Coalition remains open for other Allies and partners to join.

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