Justin Bronk, research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, described the drone as “very sophisticated” and said it was unlikely that the military aircraft would have strayed accidentally into Iranian air space.
The two ISTAR types are expensive but remain some of the most operationally relevant and flexible capabilities in the equipment plan, with a vital role to play in support of the RAF and the wider joint force in both high-intensity warfighting and ongoing low-intensity mission sets.
With the arrival of each new US president, the incumbent UK prime minster hopes to revitalise the UK–US ‘special relationship’ in defence and security. It has largely been missing in action since the heady days of the Reagan–Thatcher relationship.
Having failed to beat the EU to the Indo-Pacific, and with US–EU relations less than ideal ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration this month, the UK could carve out a niche in Asia by aligning with US policy.
The Trump administration appears keen to further reduce troop levels in Afghanistan, and for the Afghan government and Taliban to start formal negotiations. However, key security threats to the US and its allies in Afghanistan remain unresolved and a sustainable peace at this juncture is highly unlikely.
The British Army needs a mobile anti-tank reserve capability in order to credibly stop opposing heavy armour during a peer conflict. Without it, outnumbered UK armour will be held at bay while infantry are overwhelmed